Open data , the sets of data produced or collected by public bodies that are made available to citizens, have great potential value and are essential to guarantee the transparency of public administrations, efficiency and equal opportunities in time to create wealth.
Below we propose an itinerary based on three phases to encourage the use of open data in your institution.
Open data are sets of data produced or collected by public bodies that are made available to citizens (usually from public portals) so that they can be used in a simple, free and convenient way.
Making them available to society is an exercise in transparency that allows citizens to have information on the actions and services of the Administration and on the management of public resources.
The reuse of data also allows the different actors in society (citizens in general, entities, associations, companies...) to develop new products and services that add value, innovation and knowledge, and even become potential business opportunities.
Beyond the ethical or economic values that the promotion of open data may imply, it is important to mention that the reuse of public sector data is regulated by Law 37/2007, of November 16, on the reuse of public sector information which it was modified by Law 18/2015, of July 9, to adapt it to European Directive 2013/37/EU .
On the other hand, the National Interoperability Scheme (ENI), regulated by Royal Decree 4/2010, of January 8 , establishes the set of criteria and recommendations that public administrations must take into account to make technological decisions that guarantee interoperability. Specifically, the Technical Standard for Interoperability of Reutilization of Information Resources establishes the set of basic guidelines for reusing documents and information resources produced or kept by the public sector.
It is worth noting the impetus for the reuse of data associated with the laws linked to the promotion of Transparency. Article 5.1 of Catalan Law 19/2014, of December 29, on transparency, access to public information and good governance , emphasizes that "mechanisms will be established to facilitate transparent information in a clear manner, structured and in a reusable format through a comprehensive system of information and knowledge in electronic format".
OPEN DATA AND ROUTES PROPOSED BY THE AOC
From the AOC we have the firm will to promote open data in the local world and to do so we offer local bodies different resources and itineraries to move forward.
Starting from a first phase of using open data (automatic and by default linked to the AOC's transparency portal solution), we will gradually develop experiences, resources and services to move towards self-management and publication of data own open portals, taking advantage of the latest improvements in the transparency portal to automate its items based on their interrelationship between the transparency and open data portals.
- First phase: a generic open data platform
Designed for all those who in the short term do not have the capacity to create their own data sets, the solution currently includes 39 published data sets by default .
These sets of data are key to the maintenance of the information on the transparency portal and include data originating from different supra-municipal sources (Ministry of Finance, Generalitat de Catalunya, Consorci AOC, Diputació de Barcelona-CIDO...), and we can find data both interesting things such as calls for staff, ordinances, subsidies, contracts, agreements, etc.
This open data portal is found by default in all existing transparency portals around the local world, so we have more than 1,180 of them . To access it, just click on the "Open Data" area available on each entity's portal. From the AOC we work to expand the number of datasets published automatically.
If you detect any set of data that you do not want to display, you can access the control panel (as an editor of the transparency portal) and make it not displayed. For more information see "Open data: set of data to be displayed on the transparency portal" .
Beyond the supra-municipal open data that we supply by default, the second level that we propose from the AOC offers local bodies an agile, simple and customizable open data portal, which allows them to publish their own data in an open and reusable format and at the same time federate them in an open data portal of the local Catalan world.
This phase is designed for entities that have or can create their own data sets and want to publish them on the AOC portal and link their own graphic resources: tables, maps, graphs.
At this stage we find mostly large councils, although small and medium-sized councils are increasingly showing more interest and are starting to advance in the service. Globally , around twenty local bodies already have their own data sets based on the AOC solution and currently the generated own sets already globally exceed 150 data sets .
At this level we find councils such as:
It should be noted that other bodies such as the Diputació de Tarragona or the AOC Consortium itself are users of this service and currently a good number of councils such as Sant Cugat del Vallès, Calafell, Matadepera, Parets del Vallès, or regional councils such as Baix Camp, among others, are working to begin publishing data sets in a short period of time.
Here are four interesting examples of open data published via the AOC portal:
1.- Actions of the municipal brigade on the Tarragona City Council's open data portal
Tarragona City Council publicly publishes the actions of the municipal and cleaning brigade in the city from 2014 to the present . The information, beyond the tables with data, includes georeferenced maps made with Instamaps (ICGC) with the points and concentrations of activities in the territory.
The Tarragona DDOO portal is one of the pioneers in the use of the AOC portal and includes many other interesting layers such as: weather data, charging points for electric vehicles or gifts, invitations and trips of elected officials. More information on the Tarragona City Council's open data portal .
2.- Empty commercial premises available on the open data portal of Granollers Town Council
Granollers City Council publicly publishes data on available empty commercial premises . The information is also published georeferenced using maps made with Leaflet, a solution generated directly by the portal.
Granollers is the first town council to publish this data with the AOC solution and, as with all new proposals arising from the local world, its incorporation into the next version of the data set normalization model guide that currently has with 18 proposals that we keep enriching.
The open data portal of the Granollers City Council includes many other interesting layers such as: warehouses and lots available in the estates, routes through the city, children's parks or the situation of the defibrillators. More information on the open data portal of Granollers City Council .
3.- Population and visitor profile data on the open data portal of Sitges City Council
Sitges City Council was the last to join the publication of its own data using the AOC portal and although, for now, only with 3 sets of its own data. It has started with very interesting data.
Specifically, it has published the data set of population profiles and visitors (based on data from mobile phone operators). This information allows them to extrapolate interesting topics such as daily overnight stays, one-day visits by nationality... It will serve them to share with hoteliers to improve management or have more resources to reduce illegal tourist beds / rooms. You can visit the Sitges City Council's open data portal .
4.- Registration data of municipal entities on the open data portal of Les Preses Town Council
Les Preses Town Council publishes its register of municipal entities .
The case of Les Preses is very interesting because it is the smallest council user of the service (less than 2,000 inhabitants). Les Preses currently has 4 published sets of its own data and uses as a basis for its work two essential documents that are offered among the service's resources:
- Portal manual and resources for local bodies , with a multitude of technical topics to advance the publication.
- Standardized data set models , to work with standard and country models.
You can visit the open data portal of Les Preses Town Council
Beyond the four examples above, we also indicate different links of other pioneer open data portals with the AOC solution, where you can find a multitude of data sets parameterized with the standard models and data sets with different graphic resources or interesting maps :
To move forward in this proposed second phase, we provide you with a series of technical and dissemination resources:
- Portal registration procedure with own data upload
- Portal manual and resources for local bodies
- Standardized data set models , includes 18 reference sets.
- Materials from the day "open your data" . Videos and presentations from the last session that include interesting municipal experiences.
Open data to comply with the data reuse law, to be more transparent, to offer a series of public information to the public in an open format... In this last stage we want to start bringing internal fruit to the open data that is published and make life easier for transparency publishers.
In this last phase we want to encourage the automated relationship of the information published to open data with the items of the transparency portal: this long-claimed need from the local world is now possible.
We automate transparency automatically and from the source
The AOC's transparency portal facilitates the possibility of linking to any transparency item automatic views (such as data tables, graphs or maps...), created in the open data environment. This option is available on all sets of items on the transparency portal, whether items that are offered by default to comply with Law 19/14, or items of your own creation.
To explain this functionality, we will use the example of Sant Just Desvern Town Hall and the automation of municipal equipment:
- Sant Just Desvern has on its transparency portal a manual maintenance item called "municipal equipment"
- The city council wants to improve the item's information while optimizing its flows from its back-office and improving its views. To do this, open data will help.
- Sant Just Desvern has the AOC's open data portal with self-management capability.
- It has created a CSV of equipment that it publishes to open data automatically and made two views: a table and a map.
And how will the City Council link these open data resources to the transparency item in question?
- Just go to the transparency editing environment. Enter the item and associate the different available open data resources with it:
- You will need to select “ Add open data view ”, select “ Municipal facilities ” and link to it, for example the map generated from the open data environment. Specifically:
- Once the data set (Equipment) is selected, you will need to define the detail of the selected resource (in this case a map, but it could be a table, a graph...):
- The result is a perfect relationship between the Open Data Portal and the Transparency item and all in an automated way:
Finally, we include three real examples of automated transparency items via open data. In this case they are all from the Castellar del Vallès Town Council , a pioneer in the use of this development.
CASE 1: List of suppliers, awardees and/or contractors (family: contracts, agreements and subsidies)
Before : Manual publication of an excel annually by the transparency editor based on information provided by the accounting team.
After : Automatic integration with the management database, with addition of information to the CSV and automatic, automated publication in the transparency item.
Example of Castellar del Vallès: list of suppliers, awardees or contractors
CASE 2: "Directory of associations and entities" (family: participation)
Before : Manual publication of an excel (annually)
Afterwards : Obtaining the information via the database of the municipal website (on external hosting), and publishing it in the transparency item.
Example of Castellar del Vallès: Directory of associations and entities
CASE 3: "Free wi-fi internet access point" (item specific to the family of services and procedures)
Before : Manual publication of an excel annually
Afterwards : Obtaining the information via the database of the municipal website (on external hosting), and publishing it in the transparency item.
Example of Castellar del Vallès: Free internet access points
Empowering open data is no easy task. Open government in general, and the obligations regarding transparency and publication of open data in particular, mean for public administrations to leave the comfort zone with the consequent resistance to change and innovation, and often, the approach that what is done is minimal towards a mere compliance with the laws.
And we could continue with other arguments that do nothing more than put "sticks in the wheels" to promote the reuse of public sector data. Such as the lack of technical knowledge, human or economic resources. We could also cite the potential technological or organizational problems such as the need to have standards, roadmaps... to, finally, also enter into more "pilgrim" arguments such as the feeling of "unnecessity" or "passing fashion", extremely important because of the difficulty involved in managing change, and which are often used from both technical and political fields.
But we need to make our way and not because specific laws such as the reuse of public sector information or transparency laws say so, but because more reuse of data can be synonymous with greater transparency, better retention of accounts, improved credibility of our institutions, and even of higher quality citizen participation, that is to say, the foundations of open government.
And to all these arguments from the AOC we add a new one: advance in open data to be more efficient, while automating the information to transparency from the source: do the job alone and incorporate into the items of transparency good graphic resources such as data tables, graphs or maps that, coming from the open data portal, are updated daily.
So we put at your disposal a wide set of resources. Starting with the AOC's own open data portal at no cost, completely adaptable to your needs so you can start creating your own data sets and also link them transparently, to manuals, guides, models, etc. We hope that this series of resources will help you to bet decisively on the promotion of open data in your organization.