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ITProPortal - The rise of Open Data and why it’s important

Civil benefits from Open Data

Clearly, there is high potential for economic growth in Europe, but what are the benefits for individual European citizens?

First is the use of the products and services developed by both the public and private sector, such as newly developed mobile applications. These all aim to make our lives a little easier and by using these applications we could have access to real-time information to minimise travel time, for example. They offer better access to information about our neighbourhood, schools, crime rates, utilities, work, and we also have increased transparency in prices and overall government spending.

Making data available on national and European portals makes this data accessible by electronic means. People no longer need to contact administrations one by one – sometimes in written form – to obtain information. Beyond freedom of information, Open Data opens avenues for innovation and increases citizen participation. For example, the portal provides information about governmental spending and election results. This type of data improves transparency. Citizens are able to keep track of the decisions made within Parliament which is not only important to be informed, but provides an opportunity to participate in policy making and civil society in general as well.

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Source: - Lessons from Seoul: How eGovernment can drive citizen engagement

Lessons from Seoul: How eGovernment can drive citizen engagement

The majority of the world’s population currently live in urban areas, which brings with it a myriad of socio-economic challenges. In an effort to deal with these challenges, cities are investing in smart city technologies to improve standards of living, efficiencies, governance and economic growth.

By improving digital infrastructure, cities can tackle urban challenges more proactively through innovative new technologies such as e-government, big data and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Many countries and cities are pursuing this agenda, but few have mastered it. The city of Seoul is widely regarded as a pioneer in the field, having perfected its smart city solution over the years.

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European Commission - EU eGovernment Report 2016 shows that online public services in Europe show uneven improvement

EU eGovernment Report 2016 shows that online public services in Europe show uneven improvement

A new study on eGovernment services in the EU reveals that online public services are becoming increasingly accessible across Europe, 81% being now available online. However, deeper analysis of user-centricity, transparency, cross-border mobility and in general quality of use shows that growth is uneven and a substantial number of EU countries are still lagging behind. This sends a clear signal for acceleration, in order to keep up with private sector pressing needs, and citizens' expectations. To address these challenges, in April 2016, the Commission has launched a new eGovernment Action Plan for 2016-2020. It is based on the following underlying principles: digital-by-default, cross-border by default, once-only principle, inclusive by default; privacy & data protection; Openness & transparency by default.

Country progress over time: appearance of a ‘Digital Diagonal’ in Europe?

How do individual countries fare? There is huge variation in eGovernment performance across Europe. A 'Digital Diagonal’ string of countries from the South-West to the North-East of Europe perform above the European average and are also in most cases showing stronger progress than the European average, while the other European countries are behind the European average on both progress and performance. Progress is measured as the difference in performance between the data available in the last (2014-2015) and the first (2012-2013) complete biennial assessment of eGovernment surveys . Performance is measured as an average of scores for 4 top level benchmarks: user centricity, transparency, cross-border mobility, key enablers.

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Joinup - Public review of German municipal eGovernment manual

Public review of German municipal eGovernment manual

Germany’s Federal Ministry of the Interior is organising a three-month, online public review of a new manual for municipal eGovernment services. From 22 September until 30 November, a website will allow readers to comment on the document.

The document, titled “Wie kommunales E-Government dennoch gelingt – Ein Kochbuch für Praktiker” (How municipal eGovernment will nevertheless succeed - a practitioner’s cookbook), is available online.

In the introduction, the authors state that Germany has little to no municipal eGovernment services, quoting a 2015 Fraunhofer Fokus study. They also note that in regions with ageing and declining populations, and with financially squeezed local administrations, the supply of government services are at risk. Here eGovernment solutions can help public administrations to maintain service and supply levels.

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Open Data Institute - Using open data and volunteered geographic information for smart cities

Using open data and volunteered geographic information for smart cities

Smart cities are positioned as a solution for addressing many of our 21st-century challenges. Smart cities can be supported by harnessing location-based data, coupled with the appropriate and sustainable use of technology. Essentially, being ‘smart’ equates to a paradigm shift of embracing an open culture while exploring greater use of open data and peer-to-peer, volunteered geographic information (VGI)

Volunteered geographic information (VGI) as crowdsourced location-based data

In the present day, location-based data is not just generated and maintained by governments or businesses, but rather, contributed extensively by the public as volunteered geographic information (VGI). There are many ways in which people contribute meaningful VGI.

Examples include citizen as sensors for detecting air quality and earthquake monitoring, citizen feedback reporting, community mapping via Openstreetmap and peer-to-peer sharing using location-enabled social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. Many examples of VGI today are publicly-accessible but can be made open in order to unlock greater value from its use. A good example is the use of data to support ‘smarter’ flood management.


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