Amazing things are being done with data

According to wikipedia, “open data is the idea that certain data should be freely available to everyone to use and republish as they wish, without restrictions from copyright, patents or other mechanisms of control.” Whereas some forms of data collection are downright creepy, others can be used to help us explore the world around us, and make contributions for social good.

This is where Code for Germany comes in. The organization’s goal is to support programming in the areas of transparency, open data and civic technology. In eighteen cities around Germany, developers, journalists, and designers meet once a week to develop applications to inform and positively influence our society.

Berlin has a particularily active group, and this week we interviewed two teams about their projects. We first spoke with Claus Höfele about the Stolpersteine App, and then with Magdalena Noffke and Jochen Klar about Bürger Baut Stadt.

Glossary/German words

  • das Amtsblatt: government gazette
  • der Stolperstein: little gold plaques found embedded in sidewalks throughout Germany to commemorate victims of the Holocaust
  • die Koordinierungsstelle Stolpersteine: Stolperstein coordinating committee
  • Bürger baut Stadt: Citizens building the city
  • der Bezirk: neighbourhood/borough


  • Those interested in participating in Code for Germany projects are encouraged to attend weekly meetups. Information about when and where can be found on the website.
  • Easter! Go outside and enjoy the sun!

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