Section 1 - Why make Data Open?
The key drivers for making our data open are:
Improved public services and transparency
Making data that the public sector holds open enables communities and individuals to understand more about public services, gain insight into their own community and contribute to future design and delivery. Studies by the EU have identified that people are most interested in gaining access to information about their local area.
Making data more accessible can also help those delivering public services make better use of data themselves.
Publishing our data in a reusable form empowers others to use the data for new and exciting purposes. Open data can be used in isolation or with other data to provide new insights or to develop apps which allow people to use the data in useful ways. Examples of this include the publishing of transport data which has allowed the development of apps which allow users to better get around.
In making data open we need to take account of the different audiences who will be accessing the data and the different needs and skills they have.
- Seeker - People who need the data presented in an easily accessible and digestible ready to use format, such as visualisations or tables
- Enthusiast - People who lack formal skills but will try using available tools
- Specialist - People who will use their own skills to analyse and interpret the data
There are a number of pieces of legislation which require public bodies to publish data. Existing legislation includes:
- EU INSPIRE Directive,
- EU Directive on the re-use of Public Sector Information ( PSI Directive),
- Freedom of Information Scotland Act ( FOISA)
- Environmental Information Regulation
But we do not need to be limited by these requirements. Taking a proactive approach to the publication of data offers benefits to both the organisations publishing data and those who will make use of it. In doing so we can take advantage of the increasing volumes of data being created. We are using digital technologies to deliver services e.g. sensors which make lighting sensitive to the presence of pedestrians or to measure traffic flow. Such data, some real time, can provide insight for wider city management.