Business > Efficiency

UK maintains open data lead as rest of Europe starts to see benefits

David Bicknell Published 06 October 2016

New Capgemini Consulting study into open data maturity found understanding of the impact of open data at an economic level has markedly increased, as has overall market size

 

The UK may be a laggard on eGovernment , according to a report earlier this week. But on open data, it is very much a leader.

The UK is ranked first within Europe and also the world, in the Open Data Barometer Rank, which details the prevalence and impact of open data initiatives in each country. The UK is also the top European country in the Open Data Index, an annual effort to measure the state of open government data around the world.

The UK’s position is scrutinised in a new report, ‘Open Data Maturity in Europe 2016’ published by the European Data Portal, which tracks the way EU28 countries and Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein (the EU28+) host and use public data. It found that those countries publishing more information are expecting a higher social, economic and political benefit on citizens.

According to the UK snapsho t, the most downloaded data set in the UK is road safety data; the UK’s open data portals (one UK specific and eight local), received 162,486 (0.25% of inhabitants) unique visitors on average per month; and the UK has 35,976 data sets publicly available. However, the report says, the UK doesn’t have a current national 5-year strategy under development.

The overall report found that in the last year alone, the understanding of the impact of open data at an economic level increased from 38.4% to 50.8%, while the market size is expected to increase significantly to a value of 75.7 bn euros in 2020. The report also records how open data is generating economic value, with Germany’s Open Government Data project creating 20,000 jobs in 2016.

The report, which was released to coincide with the opening of the International Open Data Conference in Spain revealed that 81% of European countries now have a dedicated Open Data policy, a large increase compared to 69% in 2015. Countries are also enhancing their data portals leading to an overall portal maturity score of 64.3% against 41.7% in 2015. The report was requested by the European Commission within the context of the European Data Portal coordinated by Capgemini.

Dinand Tinholt, VP and EU lead at Capgemini, said: “It is crucial for countries to keep moving forward with their Open Data agendas. To take advantage of Open Data and increase the volumes of data available, governments need to take action. We’re reaching a tipping point. Countries are completing the harvesting of low hanging fruit and have published data that was already available and of acceptable quality. This data is now available in one single place, on the country’s data portal.

“Data quality and increasing the availability of data in machine readable formats is also something countries are now focusing more effort on. European governments are waking up to the importance of Open Data to improve everything from city planning and transportation to pollution levels and emergency services. However, some public administrations still jealously guard their data to sell it, or are secretive and refrain from sharing with others. All governments need to realise the fact that the usefulness of data grows exponentially when it is shared and used by all.”

Despite painting a positive open data picture, the report still published a series of recommendations aimed at policy makers and departments responsible for open data policies. To help countries secure their progress and reach full levels of maturity in reaping the benefits of open data, the report said, they should

•         Finalise Implementing their open data strategy, emphasising the importance of a legal structure addressing both licensing, privacy aspects as well as standards.

•         Develop automated processes to collect data from public administrations and focus on consistent and coherent metadata quality

 







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