“There’s a way to do open data on any budget. Cities and counties with populations (and budgets) of all sizes have launched successful open data initiatives.” — Code for America, Open Data Playbook.
There are numerous examples from around the world to show how the release of open data has led to cost-savings or new community-led initiatives, making a positive impact on service delivery. We have gathered a few interesting case studies here:
Washington’s Salmon Recovery Team saved time and money by phasing out paper reporting and moving to a system of web-based open data releases.
Nepal’s open data on schools and health facilities helped the community work together to map disaster zones.
Louisville and San Francisco released open data on food safety inspection scores, which led to more informed ratings on restaurant review sites.
British Columbia used its open data portal to break down silos and make it easier for different business units to share information with each other.
Different parts of the UK government were spending money on the same thing without realising. Their open data helped them see where they were doubling up and avoid duplication in future. This led to significant cost savings.
On the Gold Coast in Queensland, Griffith University has used open data about dog parks to create a phone app that shows you where you can walk your dog off leash.
In summary, key benefits of open data include:
Promoting greater transparency and engagement between government and community-members by allowing scope for data to be analysed and visualised in unique and different ways (where government may not always have the expertise or resources to do so). This can lead to a more engaged, connected and informed community and can help highlight some of the work councils are doing behind the scenes to collect and manage public data.
Facilitating social and commercial innovation, by allowing the growth of new business and service models that rely on open data.
Improving service delivery and community satisfaction by allowing citizens to interact with public government data via online interfaces or community-developed apps.
There can also be long-term or unforeseen benefits in opening data. This is because it is not always possible to predict the kinds of innovation that may evolve in response to the release of open data.
- Open Knowledge ‘What is Open?’ and Why Open Data? licensed under CC BY 4.0 International Licence
- Open Data Field Guide – Socrata
- Further case studies are available via the Open Data Institute
- Open Data Playbook – Code for America
- Open Data in 60 Seconds – World Bank