Open data for transparency, citizen involvement and innovation

Information technology is becoming increasingly common throughout numerous areas of life and work. Data and information thereby become the most essential resources in the information society. It is the goal of a city data cloud to provide companies, organizations and citizens of the modern city with trustworthy access to public data so that they may jointly shape municipal processes.

The modern city is ever so often playing the role of service provider, which is supported by the availability of open data. Open data include commercial and public, up-to-date and context sensitive data about municipal infrastructures and resources as well as aggregated information. Citizens and companies can become actively involved in the provision and use of data and information.

Bild City Data Cloud

Open data makes the decisions of the smart city more transparent thus making every day processes easier. The city data cloud allows for the efficient access, analysis and processing of municipal data in services and applications. According to the EU guideline “Re-use of public sector information”, the availability of public data is essential to the development of innovative and future-internet-based services, new businesses, transparency and the involvement in urban areas.

The city data cloud, which was developed by FOKUS, offers a pool of distributed, highly scalable IT infrastructures for the provision of open data for municipal administrations, institutions and businesses in a city. Because the supply and management of open data require an enormous and flexible IT performance, they are ideally suited for a cloud. With the help of the city data cloud, value-added services like traffic management, energy supply, public services and waste removal, can be provided with up-to-date information.

Despite the EU guidelines and their integration into German law, there still is a significant need for improvement in Germany. Fraunhofer FOKUS has assessed the status of the public data in Berlin in collaboration with the Berlin Senate Administration for Economy, Technology and Women’s Issues in line with a preliminary study. Based upon the results of this study, the status of open data was determined in detail in collaboration with the Berlin Senate in an analysis. The result was the Berlin open data agenda, a compilation of six basic principles that formulate the essential recommendations for handling open data.

In collaboration with the Berlin data portal BerlinOnline, Fraunhofer FOKUS is currently working on the development of selected data pools and the conception of the necessary tools for their use and processing. The experiences from Berlin are being transferred to other cities like Barcelona or Paris in line with the European open city project.
These very positive results of open data in Berlin are very encouraging as they are transferred to other cities in Germany, Europe and worldwide:

  1. The establishment of city data clouds is an essential tool for generating new business solutions and business opportunities. This supports the knowledge-based re-industrialization in the cities of highly industrialized countries.
  2. The city data cloud is meant to become a hallmark for cities that enables constructive innovative urban processes. It is also to play a leading role in the implementation of open data and progressive smart city scenarios to increase the attractiveness and innovative strength of the city.

Fraunhofer FOKUS can provide any future smart city with an analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and risks (SWOT analysis) of its region and creates pilot projects for a city data cloud. For that purpose, Fraunhofer FOKUS integrates administrative scenarios and helps cities with the launch of their city data cloud.