The project

What is the impact of different models for governing open spatial data on the performance of open spatial data policies in Europe?

Many European countries are setting up initiatives and taking actions to make their data ‘open’, i.e. to make data freely available for use and re-use. The Digital Agenda for Europe, the first of seven flagships initiatives under Europe 2020, encourages governments to stimulate content markets by making public sector information available in a transparent and effective manner. It is hoped that the greater availability of interoperable public data will catalyse the secondary use of such data, leading to the growth of information industries and better government transparency. A large part of governmental data can be considered as spatial data, i.e. data that refer to a location on the earth. Typical examples of spatial data are topographical maps, address data, road data, and hydrographical data. Spatial data are becoming increasingly important in society, as most of the societal, environmental and economic challenges that governments, businesses and citizens are facing, require spatial understanding and
insight.

While an important driving force for organizations to open their data comes from the Digital Agenda of the European Commission, together with the Directive on public sector re-use and the Directive establishing an infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community (INSPIRE), each country and accordingly each public organization approaches and implements open spatial data in a rather unique way. This especially applies to the governance models being utilized for managing the relationships and dependencies between all involved actors, units and organizations. Due to the lack of research on the governance of open spatial data policies, it still remains difficult to understand the impact of implemented governance models on the performance of open spatial data initiatives. As a result, practitioners and policy makers remain uninformed and uncertain about the success and appropriateness of their open spatial data governance model.

The central research question the project aims to answer is: what is the impact of different models for governing open spatial data on the performance of open spatial data policies in Europe?

To answer this research question, a case study approach will be implemented, analyzing two countries that are among the leading open data countries in the world: the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The project will be executed in close collaboration with the Dutch Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, the public authority responsible for the implementation of the open government agenda in the Netherlands, and the Open Data Institute in the United Kingdom, one of the pioneering bodies in Europe in the field of open data. The expected new insights in the performance of the governance models will allow public administrations to optimize their governance model of open spatial data to further the societal impact of open data policies.

E-GOS is funded via a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship of the European Commission.

e-gos