ENERGIC-OD: International co-operation to promote of FAIR GIS Open Data


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ENERGIC-OD, a project funded by the European Commission as part of FP7/CIP programme, will come to an end in September 2017. The project launched a pan-European Virtual Hub (pEVH) facilitating the use of Geospatial Information System (GIS) Open Data (OD) across Europe. The readers can access the pEVH here: https://www.energic-od.eu/. The pEVH brokers together a potentially infinite number of geo-spatial open data sources, harmonising them, rendering them accessible through a single API and ready to be reused for various purposes. Data brokered by the pEVH is available under freemium licence: data is free to use, while users can pay for some extra features of the pEVH. The freemium model ensures the promotion of knowledge exchange while extracting value from such an exchange and from the services provided by the various actors involved.

ENERGIC-OD is committed to improve the quality of the open data available in the GIS sector: the pEVH was designed to ensure that data adheres to FAIR principles. These principles advocate that OD should be easy to Find, Accessible, Interoperable and freely Reusable. pEVH-brokered data is FAIR as the single site where data is stored renders GIS OD sources much more foundable than ever before; the single API utilised makes data extremely usable and interoperable; finally, the freemium license ensures the re-usability of the data. The market value of open data is projected to grow by 36.9% in 2020, reaching 75.7 billion €; ENERGIC-OD will thus be instrumental in allowing businesses to tap into this growing market.

The ENERGIC-OD consortium is made up of private and public research institutions from Italy, Spain, Poland, Germany, France and the UK. These institutions include Trilateral Research Ltd., a London-based consultancy specialized in privacy, data protection, and GDPR compliance. The consortium is committed to enhance innovativeness among SMEs. According to Verhulst and Caplan(2015), SMEs are in fact the greatest beneficiaries of the open data movement, as they are guaranteed free access to data they would not normally have access to and they are more likely to take advantage of OD and become drivers of innovation.

To demonstrate the viability of the pEVH, ENERGIC-OD consortium developed 10 applications based on VH-brokered data: https://www.energic-od.eu/applications-old. These applications range from an app promoting communication between citizens and land consolidation authorities, to a coastline monitoring system that allows people to participate in the scientific observation of coastlines.

Hence, ENERGIC-OD constitutes an example of transnational cooperation aimed at enhancing innovation and growth among SMEs, while promoting FAIR practices in the open data movement. The applications above are just an example of what can be achieved with ENERGIC-OD. The full potential of the pEVH will be soon reached by the increasing number of pEVH users who are actively contributing to the growth of the innovation sector in the EU.

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