What is Open Data?

Open data is data that can be used, shared and processed by the general public. Open Data often comes in the form of a demand and is strongly promoted by the Open Knowledge Foundation. In summary, the said foundation defines open data as follows:

  • A Duplication of the data must not cause any costs. This means, for example, that the data formats in which the files are saved are chosen appropriately and data sets are basically complete; one can say that it is "made easy" for data consumers to share the content.
  • In addition to sharing, the type of reuse also plays a role. In order to To merge data with other sources, they must be provided in a format that is interoperable (the CSV or JSON format has become established for this). At best, the provider offers interfaces based on common protocols such as SOAP or REST to enable the Databases are readable by man and machine.
  • While the above-mentioned technical criteria are placed on open data, in contrast, no social conditions may be attached to it. Everyone must be able to use, share or further process the data - certain groups of persons or fields of application must not be excluded.

It is not without reason that the federal government and the Länder are committed to initiatives such as Open Government for Open Data. Public offices can work more efficiently, private companies benefit from easy access to knowledge and social security increases due to information transparency.

Legal backing through the Open Data Act

So that this progressive concept is actually implemented in practice, The first Open Data Act came into force in 2017.. Due to this legal situation Authorities obliged to provide their data in machine-readable form. In connection with the Federal Government's Open Data Strategy, Germany thus laid the foundation for a solid ecosystem. The Open Data Act is being further developed together with Austria and Switzerland and is intended to ensure even more responsible, innovative and public benefit-oriented data use in the future.

The most important German Open Data databases

  • The nationwide metadatabase GovData contains, in addition to the administrative data itself, a lot of information about the data, e.g. who created it, when and where.
  • GENESIS Online, the database of the Federal Statistical Office, contains a broad range of topics of official statistics and is categorically deeply structured. As for the databases Regional database Germany and Municipal education databaseIf the data are based on GENESIS-Online, various interfaces are available to process the data efficiently.
  • The Open Data Platform Open.NRW is intended to serve as an information portal and, under the guiding principle of "Open Government in North Rhine-Westphalia", provides a constantly growing database consisting of administrative data on projects in the state.
  • The Ministry of Regional Development and Housing in Baden-Württemberg relies on geodata for Open Government and provides the following information Geoportal Baden-Württemberg a comprehensive tool for interested associations, business representatives and citizens. A further point of contact for geographic reference data is the Geoportal Hesse data. Geodata are also mainly provided in the state of Lower Saxony. The State Office for Geoinformation and Land Surveying of Lower Saxony (LGLN) provides the platform Open Geo Data ready.
  • Among other things, you can find interesting information about the German capital Berlin on the portal Berlin Open Data. In addition, data sets from thematic fields such as education, health or transport can be viewed. The state of Schleswig-Holstein follows a similar approach. Here, too, the web application can be used to Open Data Schleswig-Holstein open data on socially relevant topics such as culture, energy or the economy.