Open Data Monitor: one year on


Partners of the OpenDataMonitor project reflect on a successful first year and prepare to launch its demonstration platform

The ODI is one of six partners in the OpenDataMonitor (ODM) project. This collaborative FP7-ICT-2013 project started on 1 November, 2013 and will run for two years. ODM will provide users with a monitoring, analytics and visualisation tool, enabling greater understanding of the available open data resources throughout Europe.

Some of the insights provided by the platform include: the number of catalogues and datasets, their development over time, the percentage of machine processable data, the percentage of coverage, information on licensing of the data, metadata provision and which organisations and countries publish the data. This helps to build a rich picture of how open data is developing.

As increased amounts of open data continue to be released by both the public and private sectors, the demand for – and benefits of – the ODM tool are becoming more widely recognised.

The ODM platform will cater to the needs of various individual and business users. For example, the platform helps the following users answer the following exemplar questions:
- Open data owners/publishers: What is the state of the art in open data publishing practices, eg what data formats and licences are being used? Which data is published by equivalent organisations in my policy field?
- Startups and tech-focused entrepreneurs: Where is data that I can reuse? Where are the gaps in provision? What data services are needed? Where should I next expand my business?
- Policy makers and open data strategy units: How are other cities, regions, countries progressing with their open data agendas? To which widely used standards in my field should I adapt?
- Students/learners: Where can I find data catalogues and datasets that I can use in my studies?
- Researchers: What is the status of open data deployment? What is the state of the art in publishing techniques?
- Industry analysts, technology providers and consultants: What is happening in the open data market? How is the market evolving? How can I adopt my business model to the development of open data?

Throughout the first year of the project, our partners have undertaken research studies on open data topologies, stakeholder requirements, resources such as catalogues, portals and reports, and best-practice for data visualisation and dashboards. The relevant technologies, processes and architecture which will monitor and further analyse open data have been identified and we have created our set of metrics which will underpin this analysis. Where possible, we are reusing existing open data resources, such as CKAN.

Some of the key research studies we’ve published in our first year include:
- open data topologies, catalogues and metadata harmonisation,
- best-practice visualisation, dashboards and key figures, and
- open data stakeholder requirement report 1.

The demonstration site, with basic integrated functions, will be launched at the end of 2014, and we will welcome testing and feedback from the open data community.

Throughout year two of the project, partners will focus on deploying the tool demonstrator, continue to develop the tool specifications based on appropriate use cases, conduct usability studies, build on existing research by further analysing stakeholder requirements and integrate complex functionality into the tool. These features will include the multilingual interface as well as advanced benchmarking, reporting and analytical functionality. Following this, partners will create resources such as manuals, instructions and training packages that will support learning and make it easy to understand how to use the tool.

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