Open Data: Global Practices and Russian Realia

14 december 2015

Opening data for e-services and applications developers has become a global trend. Open Data do not only help to make citizens’ daily life more comfortable, but also fuel economic development. International practices of Open Data use and Russia's plans in the sector were discussed on 11th December within the plenary session on the second day of the All-Russia Summit ‘Open Data - 2015", organized by the Analytical Center for the Government of the Russian Federation and the Open Government.

According to Emmanuel Forest, the Vice President of Bouygues Group and the President of the Energy Efficient Buildings Association (E2BA), in France the law regulating free access to administrative data and their use appeared in 1978. There is another initiative of French authorities - the so-called ‘Bill for a Digital Republic’, which states that every citizen can contribute to legislative acts development. Opening data thus becomes the Government’s responsibility. ‘Working with Open Data is a part of our ‘Open Government’. Our new initiative is an example of such system. There is an Open Data portal, just like the one you have in Russia, where you can find a variety of valuable information.  Russian portal is very efficient and I am sure that Russia has a huge potential in this area,’ said the expert.

In French cities, as well as in Russian ones, the ‘Smart City’ project is implemented: maps of subway traffic, train schedules, maps of bicycles’ parking and e-vehicles recharging stations are created. Experts consider data on transport infrastructure to be the most useful. According to a study of the Higher School of Economics, open data on transport will enable Moscow budget savings of about 60-70 billion rubles a year only by using special applications in citizens’ travel planning.

The use of open data in education, health, land use, construction may serve great economic and social effects. For example, geopositioning services help to use a new approach in urban planning and more efficient use of land resources in the allocation of objects. Considering health care, in this area, we can use open data to draw conclusions about which medical facilities need to be expanded. It is necessary to calculate these effects across industries, of which in Russia, and to provide the infrastructure needed to create an open data ecosystem, according to Yekaterina Shapochka, the Deputy Chairman of the Council on Open Data and the member of the Government Expert Council. In Russia we are to settle a problem of confidential state data: learn to determine confidential data and not publish them in the public space, and publish data beneficial for economy and society. The question on data geolocation is not resolved at the national level; so many data sets are useless. The data opening process, according to Ms Shapochka, should engage state-owned companies; however that will bring up the commercial secrets’ issue.

We need a dialogue between the business and the Government to determine what data should be open in the first place, according to Joel Gurin, the Senior Advisor to the World Bank, the President of the Center for Open Data Enterprise. Far too often, data opened by state agencies do not carry any benefit to society, but many do believe that 20% of data contains 80% of the value. ‘Open Data are important to achieve sustainable development goals. They can be used for the benefit of environment, ecology, energy-saving technologies promotion,’ said the expert.

Open Data are important to achieve sustainable development goals. They can be used for the benefit of environment, ecology, energy-saving technologies promotion’

Joel Gurin, Senior Advisor to the World Bank

Open Data are not just those of the Government. There is a number of commercial and non-profit organizations willing to open their data to the business, according to Andrey Pirogov, the Head of the Russian geolocation project GISGeo. Open Data can be of great value not only for citizens, but also for the business: for example, they help to analyze the potential for store chains development or goods-selling robots installation in different regions. Main problems faced by developers are irregular updates and uncomfortable data publication, as well as insufficient data at the municipal level.

(According to the Open Government materials)


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