Portal Brings Together Open Data Sets From Across Europe

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The European Data Portal is part of the EU’s broad single digital market strategy

The European Commission (EC) has launched a pan-European data portal designed to make public sector datasets more accessible, and to encourage the wider use of publicly available government information

The European Data Portal (EDP), now in beta-testing, currently includes 240,000 datasets from 34 European countries, arranged into categories including agriculture, transport, science, justice and health to make it more easily browsable, according to Wendy Carrara, director and principal consultant at Capgemini, one of the firms that built the portal.

Multilingual interface

cloudThe site, aimed at users from individuals up to large organisations, uses a multilingual search interface that uses machine translation to translate the key data descriptors, making it easier for users to find information from across the EU, Carrara said in a blog post.

“Re-use of data will get this way easier, allowing for example a developer in Bratislava to be in a better position to develop an app based on data published by the City of Oslo with Norwegian metadata annotations,” she wrote.

The portal draws on data that was already publicly available, but this is the first time there has been a single place to search for search for a wide range of datasets from across Europe. The data is formatted in such a way as to make it easy to integrate into third-party products or services, according to project developers.

The portal project aims to stimulate European government to publish more data, with hopes that as users find more ways of utilising the datasets they will in turn pressure governments to publish more.

Fast-growing market

“By taking a look at the data released by other countries and made available on the European Data Portal, governments can also be inspired to publish new data sets they had not though about in the first place,” Carrara wrote.

The project estimates that the market for open data in the EU is set to be worth 75.7 billion euros (£53bn) by 2020, up 36.9 percent from its current value, she said.

The portal, which is part of the EU’s Single Digital Market strategy, includes online training modules, visualisation tools and an application that plots data on a map to help users get started.

Carrara said the team is experimenting with an automated licensing assistant to help users deal with the different licensing conditions public bodies often attach to reuse of published data.

UK in the lead

The EDP’s economic study found that the UK government leads Europe with its open data practices, recording the highest level of traffic to a national data portal with 175,400 visitors per month.

The report estimates more effective use of open data could save 629 million hours of unnecessary waiting time on EU roads and help reduce European energy consumption by 16 percent.

The report estimates public administrations will realise 1.7 billion euros in cost savings by 2020 through the use of open data.

Capgemini collaborated with the Open Data Institute and other corporate and academic institutions on the portal.

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