A warm welcome to this EPSI conference. We are honored to have you here
in what we consider to be the most ‘open’ and ‘innovative’ city of the Netherlands. Our city continuously rejuvenates itself. We consider this as a source of opportunities for the future, just as we look at Rotterdam’s diversity as enriching our society. Just to remind you, nearly half of the population has a bi-cultural background. Today I am going to sketch for you the huge steps we as the second city of the Netherlands have taken in the field of Open Data. At the end of 2010, Rotterdam declared its ambition to make all non-personal, governmental data publicly available. The Municipal Executive decided to allow the reuse of data from the Urban Development department within the existing legal frameworks. Today we have many databases literally in store online (RODS).
This decision in 2010 did not come of its own accord. I do not need to
explain that it fits into a global movement that became more visible after the
president of the United States, Barack Obama, immediately after his inauguration
in 2009, launched the ‘Open Government Initiative’. Euro commissioner Kroes
announced on December 2011 the new Open Data Strategy as part of the Digital
Agenda. The Dutch government’s Digital Agenda focuses on the smart use of ICT to
enable growth and prosperity. With the launch of ‘data.overheid.nl’,
governments can easily register their datasets as open data and it is then made
available for reuse. At the local level, many initiatives have begun that are
centred around open data.
One important reason for the ‘Open Government’ policy is to encourage
the knowledge economy and innovation. In addition, countries that have
developed a similar initiative to the ‘Open Government’ advocate that it
contributes to democracy and public services by keeping the citizens better
informed and involved. A proposition we still to be proven in practice. An
excellent example is Open Spending in smaller towns of the UK. Rotterdam started
to study how we can implement this.
Reuse of governmental information can be a crucial driver for economic
activity and innovation in the city and of the port in particular. A second
reason why open data are important. The joint Rotterdam Open Data initiative
makes this happen. This participation did not happen by itself. You need to invest in preconditions. In recent years, the municipality has invested in the development of services and infrastructure. More precisely: the construction of fibre optic networks,
the establishment of data centres, the Rotterdam Internet Exchange and last but
not least, the creation of Rotterdam Internet Valley that supports and stimulates ICT startups with new innovative applications and services. Thanks to Rotterdam Internet Valley we have this open space for business to business across all relevant sectors.
The third reason for open data is the most recent one and that is the desire for a smaller government. All over Europe we see this movement of less government and more society. In the long term Rotterdam especially wants to transform itself into an organization that focuses more on the needs and desires of its citizens and entrepreneurs. That means a different role, a transformation form director to partner. For Rotterdam, partnership of industry, education and government is at the heart of the ROD initiative which also improves the economic position and liveability of the city. Common goals at social issues
are the foundation. Without such a connection between a social issue and the open
data project, this would probably not get off the ground.
In order to facilitate this process, an open network has been started
for governments, the business sector and education – Rotterdam Open Data
(www.rotterdamopendata.org) – from which a number of initiatives are being developed that are aimed at providing insight and access to the incoming information of, about, and for the city of Rotterdam. Rotterdam Open Data is giving meaning to the research and
knowledge building about a big strategic issue of the city, namely the meaning
of information in the city.
This project aims to develop new concepts and tools to manage the increasing complexity of the socio-economic and spatial development. Rotterdam Open Data operates at the micro level and guides many (students) practice on small scale projects. Rotterdam Open Data brings research, policy and practice together and makes it possible to jointly develop innovative solutions. In these projects Hogeschool Rotterdam, municipality and businesses experience together and collaborate and teach based on open dates. The city of Rotterdam presents many datasets available for reuse. These data sets are accessible via
the Rotterdam Open Data Store (RODS). At the moment of release data: Library,
City Development Department, Public Works / Outdoor, Public Health Service, Sports
and Recreation, Traffic.
Another great development is the start of StadsLab_7, this lab is a the centre
where Education, Research, Government and Entrepreneurs meet each other and
working on exeperiments. The city has made the space for Stadslab available.
The Calandstraat 7 location was officially opened on 1 February with a presentation of the results of the education from the past period.
In the first year of the project, 39 groups of students (under supervision of companies) created applications from the municipal data. I want to mention three examples.
• Survey 2.0 – An online survey tool whereby the responses of an
individual linked to the answers of other respondents and info graphics visualize
their own behavior in comparison with others.
• Rotterdam Unlimited – An application for wheelchair users which
wheelchair-friendly routes, facilities like parking places and public toilets
etc can be found, and that makes it possible to share own observations with
other wheelchair users.
• Study Sites – An app shows where in the library study areas are still
free, making the best use of the facilities as possible.
In terms of open-data products already on the market, we are not ready
yet. For example, there are no apps made by students available in appstores.
The projects are still proof-of-concept. How to proceed? We want to make the economic and social value of open data more visible. To this end, three cases are defined which are used as a booster to gather data and participants to mobilize and to participate in the
project. The cases are linked to three strategic areas (city, port and health)
and on results already achieved.
Case 1: 1km3 An area of 1km3 is defined in Rotterdam. For this 1km3 all possible data will be gathered and stored. This includes data from government, but also businesses and more exciting data directly delivered by citizens.
Case 2: Car2Cloud In Car2Cloud real time data from vehicles is collected and published on the Internet. Data collected concerns include the speed, fuel consumption, co2
Case 3: Rotterdam Unlimited: transformation of proof of concept to an app in the appstore.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am proud of the success of Rotterdam Open Data. There is a good
will and positive attitude towards open data. The coming period we have to transform it into tangible results. The collaboration with partners in Rotterdam Open Data is a first, strong step! Learning from practices all around Europe is what we aim to do today in order to speed up the process. Because we do need very much to do so.