Thursday, June 30, 2011

eGov Technologies Hype Curve

This visualisation is stemming from the work of the CROSSROAD project on eGovernance Research Roadmap, with additions from recent developments and tries to show the status of various ICT-enabled Government technologies and applications in a Gartner-like methodology of hype curve. I have included most developments, research areas and even ideas around the 3 Grand Challenges for ICT-enabled Governance.  

The eGovernance Hype Curve, by Yannis Charalabidis 
(as presented in the MetteG Conference, 30th June 2011,Camerino,Italy)

You may find more info on the CROSSROAD project at:
Find more on Hype Curve / Cycle methodology at:

You may also provide comments or new areas below.   

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Web 2.0 in Education - 10 Ways to make the "cloud" work for you

As students and professors get more acquainted with Web 2.0 and collaborative tools, a new set of possibilities is arising that can change provided education for the better.  The "cloud" is currently offering myriads of opportunities for enhancing collaboration, providing instant information flow and promoting student creativity.

So, if you think it is about time to go beyond the "powerpoint/projector - email - university web site" era, here is my top-10 list of advice for university teachers and students:

1. Create a Linked-in Group for each of your lessons and have students enroll
This group can act as the main "meeting point" for students and professors.  Being much more instant than any of the standard university systems, this group can be used for announcements, discussions, comments on the lessons, assignment of work, etc.  Through the profile photos you will now be able to recognise each of your students in the class. Semester by semester and year by year, this group will gather together old and new students, nicely blending alumni and rookies.  I personally prefer LinkedIn to Facebook, as the latter usually is used by students for informal, personal communications.

2. Use Twitter  for instant messaging and organising external information
Twitter can be extremely fast in sharing information on external events, such as relevant conferences, student competitions or lectures. While away from the class, this will give you the opportunity to your students to follow on your activities and find relevant projects or publications to enroll at. Twitter can also help you in effectively propagating last-minute changes in lesson plans. Agreeing on a few #hashtags for your lesson will give you the opportunity to quickly organise information. Then, have your students create one or more weekly papers on the subject of the lesson, just by managing twitter lists.

3. Use and promote the use of Cloud storage
As information to be passed towards the students (slidesets, additional material, photos and video) and by the students (essays, additional work, lesson projects results) may amount to several gigabytes, find a place to easily upload and download big files that cannot be send via email.  In Greece, Pithos Storage System provides   50 GB storage for every professor or student (thanks, GRNET). If you do not have something like that, you may still use free services such as Rapishare, Sendspace,  Filehosting or other.

4. Use the power of Blogs and RSS for channeling relevant information to students
As you cannot create so much up-to-date content for your students, try to leverage on the created relevant knowledge by others: for every of your lessons find a handful of relevant, serious blogs and link them through RSS to the Linked-in group of the lesson.  This way, your students will get up-to-date information that will give them new ideas, questions and answers.  Do not overdo: a couple of good, to the point blogs and forums can do the job of providing fresh info.

5. Create a lesson blog and encourage students to write 
This is a real "web 2.0" treatment to your students.  Learn and show them how to create a blog in 5 minutes, through Blogspot or WordPress.  Then, make a blog for your lesson and encourage students to write their own articles, reporting their lesson achievements (small prototypes, essays, papers).  This will immediately change their attitude towards being active creators of knowledge and not mere listeners.

6. Go beyond words: Photographs and Video can do the difference
The well-known blackboard (or whiteboard) can be unbeatable for sketching new examples, answering student questions and discussing them. However, important information can be erased for ever when cleaning the board.  Before you do that, take a picture and post it through Twitter (I use my smartphone for that).  Be careful not to discourage students taking notes: some people only learn through writing.  A nice next step is to use a small videocamera with a tiny tripod to video (all ?) your lectures.  Then you can upload the videos in the cloud storage and voila: your students can view them at any time, before exams.
7. Virtual classes through remote meeting: be there any time
As life becomes more complicated, tele-working and e-education is rapidly becoming a trend.  Without being yet an 100% alternative of actual presence in the class (we need some more Virtual Reality features for that), using tools like Skype can provide a good alternative.  Then, for the "real thing", you have to use a more sophisticated service such as GoToMeeting or LiveMeeting, that will allow you to have 50 students connected via internet in a virtual class, listening to you, speaking, sharing your screen or their screens, chatting in parallel and getting the lesson recorded, while being at home or at any campus spot.  In a recent poll, 75% of my students preferred this lesson to the ordinary "show, speak and forget" ones.  And a hint to teachers: by browsing these lessons at the end of the semester, you can have proofs of student participation for your grades.

8. Use Google docs for promoting collaboration
This rapidly expanding set of cloud-based, collaborative editing documents can solve most of your typical problems on how to have students enroll to project teams, propose their own essay subjects, work together on a deliverable, etc.  Possibilities are unlimited, including (MS word-like) documents, spreadsheets and presentations that can be edited by hundreds of students in parallel (keeping editing rights to avoid mal-practice if needed), and also interactive forms for putting up polls or data-entry in seconds! Is you still need to send out emails, you may also use a Google Group (although the Linkedin Group will render that unnecessary)

9. Invite externals and make your lesson "open" to society
Now that you have set up the basic infrastructure of your Web 2.0 lesson, you can make use of it for the good of students: invite other professors from neighboring domains, researchers and practitioners, company engineers and even high-level executives to see and interact.  You will be amazed on how this act can turn a "boring" university lesson into a vivid interaction between the academic world and the market, if you need that.  You may even end-up with instant problem solving by experts, collaboration or job offers, continuing education for graduates or other citizens.

10. Plan, provide incentives, gradually upgrade 
If many of the above sound difficult to set-up and manage, you might be right: you need to carefully plan what you can achieve within a semester, as there is nothing worse than starting and then "let-die".  But, if you provide the right incentives to your students, you will be amazed on how much they can achieve on their own.  And then, you will have most of the work done for the next semester for your lesson, to continue optimising.

And one advice more:
Last but not least, although web 2.0 and cloud services can solve a lot of problems and provide amazing opportunities, please do not get "lost in translation": internet (at least at this point) is more of a medium than a destination.  There is no tool that can turn an indifferent, poorly educated, not loving teacher, into a successful one / or at least not for long ...

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Greek Budget Visualisation: Where does the money go ?

Although the Greek national budget (in Greek, only) is available online, its presentation and format (PDF) makes it difficult to draw a conclusion on the allocation of spending. In the web site of Greek Ministry of Finance there exists an allocation of the spending, though the taxation system.  Also, as of this year, every Greek citizen gets an analytical report on how his taxes contribute to the country budget.  From these sources, we can draw a safe conclusion on how spending is allocated:

The main categories of the 2011 Greek Budget spending
Payment of interest amounts to almost 20% of the total expenses.

From the same source, we also get data for the 2010 income and expenses allocation, as a split between internal and external sources and destinations.

2010 Greek Income and Expenses, in billion Euros
(it shows that Greek EBIT was -10 bn EUR)

For more informaton on the Greek Budget (in Greek only), visit:

For more information on budget allocations (in Greek, only) visit:

The ENGAGE Project on Open Data started in Athens

An Infrastructure for Open, Linked Governmental Data Provision towards Research Communities and Citizens

The Kick-off meeting of ENGAGE eInfrastructures Research Project on Open Data was held in NTUA, Athens on 20-21 June 2011.  The Kick-off meeting was held in the form of open workshop, also attended by European Commission representatives and Public sector officials from Greece. 

The main goal of ENGAGE project is the deployment and use of an advanced service infrastructure, incorporating distributed and diverse public sector information resources as well as data curation, semantic annotation and visualisation tools, capable of supporting scientific collaboration and governance-related research from multi-disciplinary scientific communities, while also empowering the deployment of open governmental data towards citizens.

The ENGAGE consortium comprises of 9 partners from Luxembourg, Germany, Greece, Israel, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, with an excellent track record both in the eInfrastructures and the Governance domain (NTUA, Fraunhofer FOKUS, STFC, University of Aegean, TU DELFT) including world leaders in cloud infrastructures (IBM, Microsoft, Intrasoft International) and a large network of scientific data diffusion (EUROCris). Following on Open Data initiatives throughout Europe, ENGAGE has established links with numerous National and International public sector organisations, research communities, open data experts and standardisation fora. The project is supported by the Greek GEANT node GRNET, providing the infrastructure for service provision.

The ENGAGE Project core team, in NTUA

How to get involved ? 
Join the ENGAGE project group at: and declare your Public Sector information sources, follow the discussions and meet other Open Data Experts 

Find more about the project at:

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Tax offices productivity in Greece for 1st half of 2011

Completion of cases by tax offices across Greek regions

The following map visualises data on the efficiency of tax offices across Greece in handling cases assigned to them by the central offices of the Ministry of Finance for the first six months of 2011. These cases are related to natural and legal persons that have been identified through intersections, tax delinquent behavior and other targeted actions. 

Each spot indicates the percentage of cases closed after the completion of the above steps by the tax office, of each specific location. Three different colors displayed on the map represent the three discrete ranges of percentages that have been set, as levels of completion: 

  • Red (107 Tax Offices): minimum productivity (less than 33% of all open cases were processes within 6 months).
  • Yellow (162 Tax Offices) : medium productivity (between 33% and 66%)
  • Green (18 Tax Offices): higher productivity (more than 66% of all open cases)

The global average for all 287 Tax Offices is 36%, which means that it takes on average 18 months for the completion of a case. 

The percentages of completion have been published on the website of the General Secretary of Information Systems and are updated on a daily basis: 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Uni Aegean and Fraunhofer FOKUS collaborate on Mobile Development

It all started within the "Software Engineering" class of 2010-2011, where we set the goal to develop e-Government apps for Mobile Platforms, the prize for the best project being a visit to FOKUS premises in Berlin, in cooperation with the FAME group.

Two members of the winning team, with the Greek Municipalities for Windows Phone 7 application,
( ) visited Berlin, on May 2011. You may see all the applications at 

Ilias Dimopoulos and Thanassis Garaliakos, reported from Berlin:

"At Fraunhofer Fokus - it’s one of the buildings that you rarely see. At the western suburbs of Berlin, Fraunhofer Fokus cooperates with famous universities around the world developing on several projects. PADGETS ( is one of them, run by Information and Communication Systems Engineering Department of the University of Aegean.

In this visit we met up with Robert Kleinfield and after a long discussion, an analysis was made about  PADGETS - an extensive update on the requirements of the project.  It was required for us to develop ideas for mobile platform applications that will make it easy for citizens to link up to the PADGETS platform and participate in policy making.

After a few days of  technology transfer, experimentation and idea exchange, we now have to further develop on mobile apps ideas and discuss with  Fraunhofer Fokus. If these ideas satisfy the Fokus committee, then a new cooperation will be revealed for us and Uni Aegean !

Our days in Berlin came to an end with a visit to a traditional German restaurant, and after that a relaxing outing to a local bar, enjoying a local beer. The rest is now up to the committee.
However, our visit to Berlin and to the institute will be an unforgettable experience !"

Ilias Dimopoulos, Robert Kleinfeld (FOKUS) and Thanassis Garaliakos (Uni Aegean)

Uni Aegean IS Lab - Seeking for researchers

IS Lab Request for Collaboration on RTD Projects

The Information Systems Lab of the University of Aegean is seeking for junior, senior and expert-level researchers, for collaborating under research and technological development projects in an international environment. Occupation types, areas of needed expertise and workplace locations cover a wide spectrum of opportunities. Areas of expertise are listed as:

  • Policy and Legal Modelling 
  • Information Management and Visualisation
  • Electronic Governance models and systems
  • Future Internet (Internet of Things, Internet of Services)
  • Modelling and Simulation of complex phenomena in Businesses and Society
  • Web 2.0 technologies and services (Social Media, Semantics, Collaborative Services)
  • Mobile Devices
  • Service Enginneering
  • Unified Process and Data Modelling
  • Interoperability and Cloud Infrastructures
  • ICT policy and roadmapping
  • Data Mining and Text Mining Technologies
  • Specific Market / Country knowledge

For any information and contact details please see 
To indicate your interest please apply at: 

Friday, June 3, 2011

Digital Agenda 2020 : Announcement of Action Plan in Athens

The Greek contribution to the European Digital Agenda 2020 was announce in public, on 1st June 2011, in the DAIS Conference Centre in Athens.  More than 30 actions in 6 main areas (infrastructures, security, education & research, interoperability and citizen participation) were presented.  The Digital Agenda 2020 proposed actions will now enter into an electronic, nation-wide deliberation process.

You may download the proposed actions at:

With Charis Alexopoulos and Aggeliki Androutsopoulou from Uni Aegean