The COMSODE project has teached us all a lot. One of the surprises was, that its results focused on open data management are needed even more than we originally expected!
There were multiple statements made on Open Data on the recent ICT 2015 event of the EC:
- The Open Data in Europe is available.
- Public bodies are able to produce and maintain them.
- The question now is how to re-use and get the value out of it.
Really? Their authors unfortunately forgot to investigate the real state of the art. Vast majority of public bodies in the EU do not have any processes of Open Data publication in place, even if they are obliged to publish in machine readable formats, according to the PSI directive. This does not allow the third point to happen.
Most of the administrations, that are perceived as success stories, still do the publication manually. They can do well until the persons are not changed or the publication budget is not limited in the next year. But both factors are realistic rather than pessimistic. Also, the quality is seldom addressed and the updates are not made regularly. The compliance with personal data protection or security can endanger the whole process. All these aspects cause, that the current Open Data practice in EU is not sustainable. It actually hinders the real use of open data and any of the follow up activities.
So what needs to be done to bring Open Data in action?
By implementing the COMSODE project, we learned, that the process aspects are the real enabler. If the institution has dedicated people and can impose process innovation, it has really started. The simplified Methodology for publishing datasets as open data – preview here – created recently by Charles University Prague can be a usable crash course. Also a detailed set of methodologies is available among the project deliverables.
Then the technology comes to scene. There was a lot of development efforts invested into creating an integrated platform for data publishing and maintenance Open Data Node. ODN allows to create data processing units (DPUs) that serve for automated data cleansing and updates. It integrates ETL tool Unified Views (more here), visualization tool LDVMi (more here) and CKAN catalogue. These components are available as open source and were used for COMSODE pilots. Also a unique Search by Strategy solution is our recommended solution for quick dataset search or more advanced data linking.
And, of course, you need to follow good examples. There have been also few created with the help of COMSODE in the central Europe, where most of the consortium is present:
- National Open Data portal in Slovakia
- Empowering people and public servants to make better decisions (Support for government analytics groups)
- National publication strategy, legislation, standardization and methodology (with COMSODE contributions)
- Community and citizen participation support
- Readiness for future Pan European data portal integration (based on ODN)
- Slovak Environmental Agency
- Linkable RDF data (GeoSparql API, RDF Dumps)
- Established links (Geonames, EEA Natura 2000)
- Used the methodology support of COMSODE
- Back-end uses the transformation and publication by ODN, visualization is via LDVMi
- Horizon 2020 project PROFIT – a solution for greater financial awareness and capability
- Heterogeneous sources of data + Processing of updates and live data + Collaboration needed across the EU
- = Network of open data nodes designed for the project
- = Allowing to exchange data and benefit from automated processes (DPUs)
Also, similar use cases can be created for specific needs. Lets bring the Open Data really in action together! So what is there for you?
Please see a presentation of the Networking session from ICT 2015 event in Lisbon: