Derilinx is delighted to provide technical support to the Irish Open Data Initiative and Portal, which has recently been awarded top place in a European Commission study on Open Data Maturity of governments across Europe. 32 EU and EFTA countries were assessed in terms of Open Data readiness, the span of their Open Data policies, the maturity of the Open Data portal, the usability of the datasets available, and the social, economic and political impact of the Open Data. Ireland scored best in class with 96% against an EU average of 73%.

This is a fantastic achievement for Ireland especially considering that our Open Data initiative only commenced in 2014.  We have made excellent progress in 3 years and this ranking could not have been achieved without the work and commitment of public bodies themselves in making their datasets available as Open Data.

Patrick O’Donovan TD, Minister of State for Public Procurement, Open Government and eGovernment

Patrick O’Donovan TD, Minister of State for Public Procurement, Open Government and eGovernment, welcomed the announcement that Ireland has achieved first place in the European Commission’s Open Data Maturity assessment for 2017.

Open Data refers to information that anyone can freely access, use, modify, and share for any purpose. For example, real-time information on public transport routes, NCT pass/fail rates, local authority development plans, greenhouse gas emissions, townland boundary data, locations of schools, etc. Since the National Open Data Initiative was instigated in 2014, substantial advances have been made, including the development of the National Open Data Portal data.gov.ie (developed and maintained by Derilinx), which links to over 5,500 datasets from 100 Public Bodies, and the publication of the Open Data Strategy 2017-2022, which sets out a clear roadmap to drive the use and impact of Open Data.

Ireland was commended in a number of areas, including national coordination, user engagement, Open Data impact, open licencing and automatic dataset publication.

National coordination is important for a successful Open Data journey because the national level can introduce and streamline national guidelines, standards and common approaches to be used by other levels of government. The Irish Open Data Initiative is coordinated by the Open Data Unit in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. The Open Data Governance Board (ODGB) provides strategic leadership and governance in line with best international practice in the area of Open Data, including the preparation and implementation of the Open Data Strategy 2017-2022, while the Public Bodies Working Group (PBWG) provides technical support to the initiative and ensures a coherent and consistent approach to the publication of Open Data.

Another key element of national coordination is to accommodate for both harvesting data from sub-national and domain specific portals. The data publication process of the four Dublin local authorities on the Dublinked Open Data Portal, which in turn is harvested to data.gov.ie and the European Data Portal is presented in the study as a good example of harvesting in practice.

Measuring the political, social and economic impact of Open Data is an important part of the Open Data Maturity study, to ensure there is tangible evidence to show policy-makers and the public which value Open Data brings to society. Ireland scored top marks in all three impact categories with a collection of evidence presented in report. For example, for the impact of Open Data on the inclusion of marginalised groups, the example of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Challenge with Cork County Council, the Age Friendly Alliance and Enterprise Ireland to explore low cost, innovative and accessible solutions that will help all of its older citizens to maintain a good quality of life and enable them to remain and feel secure in their home was given.

For economic impact, the examples of the Dublin Economic Monitor, which tracks development in the Dublin economy, and the Programmable City, which investigates the relationship between networked digital technologies, infrastructures, urban management, governance and city life, were presented, as well as a number of studies on the economic value of Open Data carried out by the Insight Centre of Data Analytics. The Geospatial Linked Data project with the Ordnance Survey Ireland and ADAPT, which provides better access to enriched linked datasets in line with agreed standards in the area of geospatial data, was also highlighted as best practice.

Ireland also scored top marks for user engagement, with the Irish national portal enabling users to provide feedback through different tools such as direct messaging as well as through datasets suggestion online forms. It also enables users to organise to publish/share their own datasets thanks to the support activity behind the recently launched Data Audit Tool.

Key success factors for Open Data transformation

Overall, the results of 2017 show that the majority of EU28 have made considerable progress with regard to previous years, in particular when taking the measurement of 2015 as a baseline for this comparison. Ireland is clearly at the forefront of Open Data readiness, use and impact. The study concludes by highlighting some of the key success factors that led to such progress in Ireland and other countries. The following aspects come to the fore and proved to be amongst the common main drivers for success in these countries:

Full details of the report can be viewed and downloaded here.