Friday, November 15, 2013

Trends in Open Geo|Government Data

The Austrian Academy of Sciences' Commission on Geographic Information Science on Nov 14 organized an event addressing backgrounds, practice and issues around Open Geo Data. Led by a wide ranging presentation of Jonathan Raper on 'Challenges for Geo-Infrastructure' arguing that SDI increasingly will be ad hoc aggregations of national, enterprise/commercial and open data services, six more short talks covered multiple aspects and experiences with open geo and government data.

Brigitte Lutz provided an excellent overview from an open government perspective, followed by BEV (NMA) chair Wernher Hoffmann highlighting difficulties with opening up cadastral and property management. Stefan Pawel from Linz Open Commons addressed the added value for communities and administration arising from open data policies, a view supported and illustrated by Wolfgang Jörg from ViennaGIS. Manfred Mittlboeck then discussed the need of SDIs for smart search based on semantic enablement, with Arnulf Christl from '' challenging participants to accept that sharing increases, not reduces digital assets.

J.Raper: Open Data Manifesto
Obviously the following lunch buffet as a non-digital asset did not follow this rule, but provided an opportunity for informal exchange, debate and engagement between different viewpoints. As a final step, Prof Georg Gartner moderated a wide ranging panel-and-plenary discussion on key topics around OGGD. Privacy issues received a lot of attention, essentially demonstrating that legal frameworks lag behind current practice and technologies. It was clearly acknowledged that the transition to open data policies can be considered a very substantial paradigm change, already well advanced across many domains. Supported by alternative business models the objectives of adding value, democratisation and innovation serve as common denominators to establish open geodata in public administration, business and academia.

More than 100 participants actively contributed through comments and discussion, highlighting the timeliness of the OGD debate and the relevance of ÖAW as a neutral platform joining different stakeholders. Presentations / slides are available from


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