Open Data - What does it mean for Government, Business and INSPIRE?


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Presentation on Open Data and its implications for Government, Business & INSPIRE to IRLOGI GIS Conference 2011 on 12th October, 2011

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  • Today, I am going to talk about Open Data and why we should consider it; give an overview of Open Data in Ireland; share our experience with Fingal Open Data look at the benefits and challenges of Open Data
  • Open Data plays an important role in Open Government In particular, it underpins collaboration Open Data is …
  • Public data Which is not subject to data protection or other limitations
  • Open Formats Available in non-proprietary formats e.g. CSV, XML, KML, RDF, open APIs
  • Machine Readable In a format that computers can process
  • Accessible Available to the widest range of people for the widest range of uses
  • Why would we publish Open Data?
  • Transparency To Open up Government and enable the Public to see the underlying information. What is the actual evidence-based reality as opposed to the perceived reality
  • Participation To increase citizen engagement with Government. If Government and Citizens are to cooperate, then Government can’t be the only ones with the information
  • Collaboration In addition to Citizen-Government collaboration outlined earlier, also - To enable the combination of data from different public sector agencies To enable other sectors to collaborate with Government.
  • Economic Opportunities Public sector data can be used as the basis for online services, mobile applications, analytics, etc.
  • Where did Open Data originate?
  • In the United States, Barak Obama promised Open Government during his election campaign. This website, was created in 2009 to share US Government data. This is the seen as the main catalyst that has driven the Open Data movement
  • In fact, the EU were ahead of the game The 2003 EU Reuse of Public Sector Information Directive was designed to allow European companies to exploit the potential of Public Sector Data and to contribute to economic growth and job creation. In a 2009 report, the EU cited the value of EU Public sector data at an estimated €27B. However, the PSI directive was primarily about requesting or ‘pulling’ data from Government rather than the publishing or ‘push’ model of Open Data
  • In the two and a half years since the launch of, Open Data sites have sprung up around the world, mainly in Canada, USA, Europe, Australia and New Zealand 2010 – UK Government, London, United Nations, World Bank
  • The 2007 EU INSPIRE Spatial Information Infrastructure Directive is designed to facilitate sharing of spatial environmental data As we know, the Directive requires public bodies to provide electronic discovery, view and download services The INSPIRE Directive therefore shares many characteristics of Open Data and Re-Use of Public Sector Information
  • The Greek Government recognised the commonalities in PSI and INSPIRE In Greece, INSPIRE legislation builds on the principles of their PSI legislation and the two are complementary
  • Open Data is nothing new in the G.I.S. world One of the best examples of Open Data is OpenStreetMap This is collaborative spatial data made openly available
  • What about Ireland? Up to November 2010 there were no Open Data websites in this country.
  • A number of people had been calling for Open Data. This Internet group was established by interested people to discuss possibilities for Open Data in Ireland.
  • was created by a collaboration of people from the Open Data Ireland discussion group and DERI research centre in NUI Galway takes data from Government websites, converts it to open formats and publishes it
  • The new Government has recognised the need for Open Data Both parties to Government have Open Government and Open Data policies The Programme for Government includes a number of objectives The EU eGovernment Action Plan also includes Open Data or PSI objectives
  • What about Fingal?
  • The Fingal area covers North County Dublin – north of the Liffey and the M50 including Blanchardstown, Howth, Swords, Balbriggan and Dublin Airport It is the 3 rd largest Local Authority area by population as per preliminary Census 2011 figures It is the youngest area in the country It was fastest growing from 2002 – 2006 (22%) and 3 rd fastest growing from 2006 – 2011 (14%)
  • To cope with our phenomenal growth we relied heavily on data for service planning. We built up considerable experience of data sharing.
  • The Fingal Data Hub was created by the Fingal Development Board in 2009. It was a collaboration between 9 partner agencies. It was designed for sharing of anonymised data between partner agencies, to enable interagency cooperation and service planning. In 2010 the data was made publicly available.
  • Fingal Open Data evolved from the principles of the Fingal Data Hub and the Open Data movement. In Summer 2010 we were preparing a report with data about all Local Authorities which was difficult to find and only available in PDF We discovered the Open Data movement and felt that this was a better way We decided to take the initiative with the backing of the County Manager and Fingal Open Data was born It is the first and still the only Open Data website in this country, launched in November 2010 It is available at The website, which you can see on screen, provides public access to source data from Council systems.
  • There are currently over 90 datasets organised into 12 categories Detailed information is provided about each dataset, including description, date published and available formats. 70 of these datasets are spatial – either by nature or aggregated to a spatial area (electoral division)
  • The site has a Featured Applications section to showcase uses that Fingal Open Data has been put to 4 of the 5 applications are map based
  • There is a blog where we post updates on Fingal Open Data and Open Data in Ireland
  • The data is subject to the Irish PSI Licence, drawn up by the Department of Finance, which allows for fair use of the data.
  • For Open Data to be of value, it must be put to some use
  • The datasets now available on Fingal Open Data enable many services to be developed such as those illustrated here. Four of these services have been developed to date
  • This is the first service that has been developed with Fingal Open Data. It was built as an added feature on the ‘Hit The Road’ website It displayed all polling Stations for the 2011 General Election and allowed a user to search for a Polling Station and get directions to that Polling Station using Public Transport It showed data from all 4 Dublin Authorities, but the data was scraped from the other 3 Local Authority websites.
  • This is an iPhone App that has been built with Fingal Bring Bank data It displays all Bring Banks It allows filtering on the type of recyclable material – glass, cans or textiles It displays information about the selected Bring Bank It also identifies the nearest Bring Bank to your location and will provide directions to Bring Banks
  • Local Planning Explorer Ireland was developed by DERI in NUI Galway in cooperation with Fingal County Council and Local Government Management Agency Fingal planning applications from Fingal Open Data Five Councils planning applications from a Microsoft Azure cloud service Remainder scraped using ScraperWiki
  • This Android App called Dublin Parking displays the location of disabled parking spaces in the Dublin Region The Fingal data came from Fingal Open Data The data for the rest of the Region was requested from and supplied by the other 3 Dublin Authorities
  • ESRI Ireland created this Traffic Camera Map on their platform Showcase the capability of their technology
  • Sparkfish Creative are a Cambridge company specialising in App development The MassTransit app is their main product They also provide consulting and contract services
  • Placr is a Location Based Services company Earlier this year presented at Enterprise Ireland/Ordnance Survey Ireland event in Dublin Provide transport feeds to apps developers (timetables, live data) Consultancy, training and other Services
  • FixYourStreet is an open transparent tool for reporting problems to Local Government It also has an Open Data dimension, as the data is exposed through an Open API on the Ushahidi platform
  • This is an example of a request to the FixYourStreet API Documentation on the Ushahidi API is at
  • This allows for third parties to develop solutions against the data These could be Apps, Visualisations, alternative interfaces, etc HeyGov! is an example of the type of development that could be done with FixYourStreet data
  • This is essentially the approach that has been taken with the Bike Racks website It evolved from New York City looking at how it could maximise the value of its CRM investment The Bike Racks website enables citizens to identify a location where they believe bike racks should be provided, to include a photo of the location and to outline their reasons for the suggested location Other citizens can vote on the suggestions Citizens can also check whether their suggested location meets Bike Rack Location Guidelines to see racks provided sooner
  • U.K. Department of Transport made NAPTAN bus stop dataset available to OpenStreetMap OpenStreetMap volunteers check, edit and verify the data via the NOVAM viewer Improved data quality of public dataset Potential for the same approach to be used here with Government datasets
  • There have been a number of developments in Open Data in Ireland over the summer
  • On the 4 th & 5 th July, the NDRC ran Ireland’s first Open Data Challenge In partnership with Fingal County Council, Dublin City Council, Microsoft and the Irish Internet Association Participants developed ideas and business propositions based on Fingal Open Data and Dublin City data
  • This is the website for Just Park who came 2 nd in the Open Data Challenge
  • The Dublinked initiative was announced on 27 th June A collaboration between Dublin City, Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown, Fingal & South Dublin County Councils and NUI Maynooth Platform provided by IBM A Network for Sharing Data to facilitate innovation in the urban environment through collaboration between private, public and research partners with the Dublin city region as a proving ground Invitations to participate are currently open Event on 18th October to introduce the Network as part of Innovation Dublin month
  • Enterprise Ireland are facilitating a National Open Data Working Group Membership includes Fingal County Council, South Dublin County Council & LGCSB Chaired by Joe Horan Initiated in July, a workshop was held at the end of August to formulate ideas Aims to produce a white paper for Government on Open Data before end of year
  • Conference in Belfast on Open Government & eParticipation Presentations on Open Data, Open Source, Electronic Town Hall Meetings, mGovernment Meeting on the 2 nd day to make submission to Cabinet Office on Open Data
  • There are also a number of challenges
  • We need to recognise that Open Data is a major challenge for the public sector who are protective of data holdings (for good reason) Support from Senior Management within releasing organisations is essential Should align with Organisational Objectives – Fingal : Tourism, Age Friendly County UK Government policy to release data; however, Local Government is finding it difficult – additional work with reducing resources Use it as an opportunity to create an Internal Data Catalogue for Information Management Align with INSPIRE directive requirements – single data catalogue/store for both
  • There is often a fear that the data will be misinterpreted or that the quality is too poor to release Use Metadata & release briefing notes to counter misinterpretation If the quality of the data is poor what about the processes that depend on it There may be a possibility to use it as an opportunity for improvement through crowdsourcing (UK bus stops) Maybe the Public Sector should adopt a patch culture, instead of aiming to be perfect all the time We in the public sector need to Let Go a bit
  • There is a need to make Open Data attractive to developers who will build apps with the data. This can be done through incentivising the development of apps – e.g. competitions, challenges There is also a need to identify what the potential market is for Open Data apps, so that developers build apps that are needed.
  • Open Data sites are generally not designed with citizens in mind. It was generally felt that as Open Data is a raw material, ease of access to the raw data for non-developers was not required. However, there is now a growing view that when raw data is published, it should also have associated visualisation tools such as charting or mapping and that there should be links to apps built with the data
  • We need to agree standards for data formats, service vocabularies, data catalogues However, this should not prevent us from starting to publish Open Data Standards can be applied retrospectively Potential users of the data would prefer that the data be released in the first instance (just not in PDF) Go ugly, early
  • Because Open Data is such a new development, it is often difficult to determine whether it is succeeding. Using a metric such as visitor traffic to an Open Data website does not give any indication of whether anything useful has been done with the data. The performance of Open Data should be measured against the reasons for publishing the data. Appropriate metrics need to be defined for these purposes e.g. number of apps created, number of businesses utilising the data as the basis for products, increase in citizen involvement in decision-making, etc.
  • What are the next steps for Open Data?
  • We need to have more Irish Open Data We want to encourage Local Authorities, Government Departments and Agencies to start releasing Open Data
  • We also need to examine whether usage restrictions can be removed from data already released CSO, EPA, Heritage, Marine, Finance, HSE There are also opportunities for Open Academic Data, Open Scientific Data, Open Bibliographic Data, etc And why not Open Business Data? Open Product Catalogues; Airline Flights and Fares; etc. Enel, Italy’s largest power company, has released Open Data Nike have employed Ward Cunningham, inventor of the Wiki, to work on Open Data
  • We need apps & services built with Open Data Initially this might be Fingal Open Data, but these apps should be built to consume Open Data from any Government agency Beyond that, apps could consume data from other European countries – as part of the European Digital Action Plan the EU wants to encourage cross-border apps and services Apps can be developed by business, 3 rd level, volunteers, etc If we are to demonstrate the value of open data and encourage the release of more data, we need to be able to show the practical benefits through practical applications and services The Open Data Challenge has delivered major progress in this area
  • With that in mind, we are planning an Open Data Competition – Apps4Fingal We also intend to hold an event – probably an App development day The competition should launch in the next few weeks
  • The work we have be doing with Open Data is now starting to have an impact nationally Open Data will enable Open Government and increased citizen participation Open Data will also act as a driver for economic development and as a building block for the smart knowledge economy Open Data should be aligned with work on INSPIRE – multi-purpose data catalogues supporting spatial and non-spatial data There is a great opportunity for Ireland to play a leading role in Open Data worldwide we are small enough to be able to rapidly deploy Open Data is still in its infancy worldwide As I mentioned earlier, Fingal Open Data is available at And you can also follow us on Twitter at fingalopendata
  • In line with the theme, this presentation is licenced for sharing under a Creative Commons licence It is available for viewing and downloading on slideshare Thank you.
  • Open Data - What does it mean for Government, Business and INSPIRE?

    1. 1. Comhairle Contae Fhine Gall Fingal County Council Open Data What does it mean for Government, Business & INSPIRE? GIS Ireland 2011 - 1 2 th October, 2011 @ fingalopendata
    2. 2. What is Open Data?
    3. 3. Public Data
    4. 4. Open Formats
    5. 5. Machine Readable
    6. 6. Accessible
    7. 7. Why Open Data?
    8. 8. Transparency
    9. 9. Participation
    10. 10. Collaboration
    11. 11. Economic Opportunities
    12. 12. Open Data to date
    13. 13. U.S. :
    14. 14. E.U. : Reuse of Public Sector Information
    15. 15. Open Data Initiatives Worlwide
    16. 16. E.U. : INSPIRE
    17. 17. Greece – PSI & INSPIRE
    18. 18. OpenStreetMap
    19. 19. Ireland
    20. 20. Open Data Ireland
    21. 21.
    22. 22. Open Government Data Policy <ul><li>Ireland – Programme for Government </li></ul><ul><li>Publish Purchase Orders for more than €20,000 </li></ul><ul><li>Create a </li></ul><ul><li>European Union – eGovernment Action Plan </li></ul><ul><li>Committed to – </li></ul><ul><li>..making raw data and documents available for re-use in a wide variety of formats.. </li></ul><ul><li>..setting up PSI portals.. </li></ul>
    23. 23. Fingal
    24. 24. © OpenStreetMap contributors, CC-BY-SA - Fingal 3 rd largest Youngest Fast Growing
    25. 25. Rapid Population Growth
    26. 26. Shared Anonymised Data
    27. 27. Open Data relating to Fingal http://
    28. 28. Over 90 datasets in 12 categories
    29. 29. Applications
    30. 30. Blog
    31. 31. Irish PSI Licence
    32. 32. Apps
    33. 33. Possible Fingal Apps Check bathing water quality for Fingal beaches Find Planning Applications submitted near you See the amount of waste recycled in Fingal Locate the place where you vote Find your nearest Bring Bank Locate disabled parking spaces in Fingal Find out where you can buy bin tags
    34. 34. Polling Stations Website
    35. 35. Bring Banks App
    36. 36. Planning Explorer
    37. 37. Disabled Parking App
    38. 38. Traffic Camera Map
    39. 39. Boston Transport App
    40. 40. Location Based Services
    41. 41. FixYourStreet
    42. 42.
    43. 43. Miami 311
    44. 44. http:// /
    45. 45. Data Quality Improvement
    46. 46. New Developments
    47. 47. 4 th / 5 th July, 2011 – NDRC, Dublin
    48. 48. Just Park – 2 nd in Open Data Challenge
    49. 49. Dublin Region Innovation Network
    50. 50. National Open Data Working Group
    51. 51. Conference & Strategic Summit Belfast, 22 & 23 September 2011
    52. 52. Challenges
    53. 53. Data Release
    54. 54. Let go …
    55. 55. Developers
    56. 56. Citizens
    57. 57. Standards
    58. 58. / Measuring Success
    59. 59. Next Steps
    60. 60. Linking Open Data cloud diagram, by Richard Cyganiak and Anja Jentzsch. We Need Irish Open Data
    61. 61. Remove Data Usage Restrictions
    62. 62. We Need Apps
    63. 63. © OpenStreetMap contributors, CC-BY-SA - Apps 4 Fingal Competition & Event
    64. 64. Comhairle Contae Fhine Gall Fingal County Council Open Data What does it mean for Government, Business & INSPIRE?
    65. 65. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License Use of any Fingal County Council or Fingal Development Board logos and brands are not covered by this license. Pictures as marked used under Creative Commons license. If you believe any content is infringing copyright, please contact us via http://