Releasing valuable PSI is one thing. Making it accessible and usable is another.
An explosion in the use of Public Sector data is clearly needed if Europe is to become properly “democratised”. It hasn’t happened yet, but the clearly governments are beginning to respond to a more sophistocated use of “our Data” from the existing services.
For the “location” data and services industry many of the individual countries have embraced new PSI legislation and have gone as far as providing their own national geographical data (Spain for example), services (Great Britain) and GeoPortals (Finland). But with much of the legislation now being driven from a European perspective (INSPIRE, PSI and other European Digial Agenda initiatives) what is happening to draw these initiatives together and make it possible to make pan-European data services available all based upon a common set of reference data?
I’m pleased to see the European Commission have drawn together the trend in Cloud Computing with the need to improve the efficiencies in public sector via crowd sourcing. They came up with a fund that support what I think of as the EuroGeoCloud.
What is this? It’s a cache of the main location reference data sources from the member states and beyond. Geographical Names, topography, address data and other services will be available based upon the maintained and official national sources. All of this available on-line, and because it’s held as a cache, performance issues from the independent services will be less of an issue.
Is it just a dream?
The bid closed on 1st of June and I have personally been involved managing one strong bid where the providers of the national mapping data from 10 agencies plus the developers (large and small) of applications and platforms plus key user groups are all collaborating to creat this EuroGeoCloud.
So it’s now time, for anyone who wants a siginificant change in the way our Public Sector Information is used, to cross their fingers and wish the best collaboration to win! If we are lucky, the resultant easier, low cost intuative access to Geo Information will be the catalyst we need to improve the way that Europe works.