About this good practice
Open data is data that anyone can access, use and share – it becomes usable when made available in a common, machine-readable format (but complemented with other formats, too). The public sector produces large quantities of data from different kinds of sectors within its responsibility (e.g. demographic statistics, spatial data, economic information, maps, sensor measurements, income levels), but there is no joint register of all information a municipality handles.
In the beginning of 2018, the Municipal Board of Gävle decided to set aside funds for financing the release of open data, with the first dataset launched at the end of the same year. This process is conducted in project form. Since June 2021, the project consists of two project managers and about 4-5 GIS developers. The project team works in stages and has reconciliations every three weeks where the group updates a Kanban board/planner in Microsoft Teams together. The project has previously mainly published geographic data but now seeks to identify potential datasets without a geographical connection. Publishing happens in several file formats: jason, shape and geopackage.
The municipality collects its data sources in a directory service. The catalogue is also read and published in national directories and the EU catalogue for open data. The city uses Creative Commons CC0, which means that the data is free to use, disseminate and modify without restrictions – entrepreneurs & other actors are especially interested.
HR: leader, coordinator, system architect, information architect, solutions architect, system developer (transforming data and creating formats/APIs), information/process specialists (i.e. people working with specific datasets)
Evidence of success
Gävle is among the 5-6 first Swedish municipalities that have a continuous release of open data. Since 2018, they have released about 80 datasets. This was an eye-opener on how important handling information is and how they need to be more systematic with it. According to studies, growth in SMEs that are potential users of geographic information was 15% higher in countries with free open data. Research also shows a huge potential in savings for the public sector with impartial procurements.
Potential for learning or transfer
Start small: do not start with the most complex datasets.
Pick your license (CC0 – creative common zero, No Rights Reserved).
Set aside funds to identify, transform, publish and maintain data.
Publishing open data must be a natural part of business and processes.
1. Pick a topic and identify datasets
Identify data-owners, any legal and/or technical difficulties; create specifications on what parts of the dataset can be published as open data and classify them as such.
2. Transform the data through information and data modelling
3. Publish the data
4. Set up a process for maintenance (quality checks and updates)
All in all, gathering, analyzing and accessing data is crucial for regional innovation, therefore, this good practice was studied in the course of the BETTER project under the "Physical and virtual infrastructure – assets to support the process for innovation" topic.