Open Data: Work in progress

By Christian BlockMisch Pautsch Switch to German for original article

In his State of the Nation Address, the Prime Minister addressed deficits in the implementation of the Open Data principle. Why this is the case and why journalists are not the only ones who continue to demand access to information.

Development plans, drinking water protection areas, housing prices, but also addresses, hiking trails and accommodation. Everyone has probably used the geoportal for one purpose or another. "Today, more than 5,000 people visit the geoportal every day", says Jeff Konnen, head of the responsible Department in the Cadastral and Surveying Office. That is ten times more than over a decade ago. Users can now choose from around 800 different and freely combinable layers of information. "The idea is to display all data created by a public authority that can be displayed on a map on the geoportal. This works extremely well today."

The initiative to display government maps digitally goes back almost 20 years. Jeff Konnen remembers an Interreg project to display water data interactively. But at the time, no one with the right skills could be found to continue the project. Through the cooperation of several actors, a first collection portal was created with e-cadastre. "This then became the geoportal", Konnen recalls. In parallel, the Inspire Directive (2007) was launched at the European level with the aim of establishing national spatial data infrastructures, especially with environmental data (water bodies, protected areas, geology, land use, …). It set standards for data formats, provision and visualisation.

The geoportal is not only a prime example of the provision of open data, but in a way also stands at the beginning of open data handling in the public sector. Also because data, before it can be fed into the Geoportal, must first be available as Open Data in order to be Inspire-compliant. "Geodata is a big part of Open Data", Francis Kaell explains. He should know, because the head of Open Data and Information Access at the government's Press and Information Service (SIP) built the geoportal and managed it for a good ten years before moving to the Ministry of State.

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