The benefits of open data at local government level are well recognised, leading to citizen engagement, government transparency and opportunities for innovation.
The City of Edinburgh Council has produced a clear strategy for open data along with an effective framework to promote access to these datasets. Ordnance Survey’s new Presumption to Publish process has supported this drive by further streamlining the release of Local Authority data.
What were the challenges?
- Making data available to people or organisations who don’t have access to commercial datasets.
- Increasing the range and scope of spatial datasets available to the citizens of Edinburgh under open terms.
- Avoiding long or difficult processes for exempting datasets.
- Allowing OSMA members to release more datasets under open data terms.
What was the solution?
Under the One Scotland Mapping Agreement, members such as the City of Edinburgh Council can go through a process of exemption for their derived datasets – datasets which have been created using Ordnance Survey products – to give them Open Government Licence terms. These datasets would then be considered open data.
The expanded exemption process has made it easier for the Council to roll out our open data programme, ensuring citizens and interested groups can make use of Local Government datasets that are underpinned by OS mapping.Mike Bell, Systems Manager, City of Edinburgh Council
Knowing improvements could be made led to the development of Presumption to Publish, a streamlined process that meant OSMA members have their datasets exempted in minutes.
The City of Edinburgh Council has been proactive in utilising the process, releasing over 25 different datasets in the first few months of Presumption to Publish being available. The datasets cover a wide range of areas; from heritage site information and gritting routes to vacant land surveys and city parking bays. These datasets can be used by any third party under open data terms to be used as they see fit. The Council has supported this through the provision of an Open Data Hub and an active developer programme EdinburghApps.
What were the outcomes?
- Altogether improved licensing processes have enabled the Council to drive its Open Data Strategy to the benefit of the citizens of Edinburgh.
- New exemption process removes barriers against releasing more derived datasets.
- Individuals and organisations have access to a wider range of spatial data with which they can develop new spatial services and solutions the under Open Government Licence terms.
- Promotes and supports government transparency and citizen engagement.