Open Data for Germany

Be it environmental data, public utility data, geo data, or some other data – the Open Data approach is a key factor, if we want to open up the most important resource of the 21st century – information – and further develop our knowledge-based society.  No one will be able to take this step on their own. Administrations, economies, and societies must come together to open up the potential of data. For example, the availability of infrastructure data, environmental data, and demographic data would enable citizens, NGOs, or companies to combine these to produce a family friendly map. Furthermore, public agencies would improve the quality of their data by publishing their data and offering third-parties the opportunity to point out errors or gaps. The provision of open data will make processes more understandable and strengthen the trust between governments and civil societies. With the Internet of Things, the mounds of data will continue to grow. It is for these reasons that we should manage them – competently, conceptually, and jointly.

Open Government Data – Open Data in the public sector

The provisioning of structured data within the public sector is significantly gaining importance. In the scope of the “Open Data” initiative, authorities and regional body administrations publish data for further use by third parties. The legal framework for Open Data is formed by national standards such as the American FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) or the German IWG (Informationsweiterverwendungsgesetz), otherwise referred to as an information reuse law. Within these standards rules for access and re-use of information from the public sector are determined. To ease handling, administrative data should be provided within a central platform. The advantages are apparent: citizens can obtain information relating to processes and achievements of their administration, while at the same time administrators are less burdened with handling citizens. Furthermore, administrators will then be able to find their administrative data easily and with greater efficiency.

Open Data – The key to innovation and new business models in the private sector

Internet-based Open Data platforms not only motivate transparency and active participation of administrators, they also enable new business models and promote the development of services and applications. The opening of databases accompanied by the increasing prevalence of mobile devices offers a huge economic potential for innovative companies, start-ups and talented developers. The combination of Open Data and open innovation enables the realization of concrete applications in areas such as health, energy, traffic and aspects of the surrounding environment with direct influence on everyday life in the smart city of tomorrow. Motivating public and private institutions to open their data also requires a fundamental change in administrative processes and thinking.

With over two decades of experience under its belt, Fraunhofer FOKUS is well-established in realizing and providing scientific consultation for IT projects in the public sector. Currently, Fraunhofer FOKUS scientists are working on numerous national and international projects in the Open Data space. They are developing concepts and coming up with new technology based solutions.