ReadWriteWeb, By Scott M. Fulton, III / September 23, 2011
Sticking with her original deadline announced last year, European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes told a European interoperability standards forum yesterday that a public portal for access to government and public data from across the continent is on track to go online in Spring 2012. Following that, the next stage in Comm. Kroes' agenda includes an ambitious project to launch a community-built, crowd-sourced public data platform for all of Europe.
Kroes told the OpenData Forum in Brussels she expects for a pan-European forum for public data mining to go live no later than 2013.
A Commission report last November (PDF available here) produced by a technical workshop convened in Luxembourg of data standards experts, including W3C, painted a very broad picture of the types of data the government is looking to federate. A new data portal would need to include a small group of very interesting datasets first, the report stated, to attract citizens' interest early. But then these early datasets would need to be stitched together with bigger datasets, the ownership of which may be indeterminate. Goal #2, the report said, would be to "deeply integrate a small set of very high quality datasets demonstrating immediate value and, in time, capable of acting as a scaffold for the integration of many other datasets. Candidates in this second role are geospatial, transportation, statistical and financial datasets.
Yesterday, Comm. Kroes narrowed and focused the definition of these datasets somewhat:
"Making good use of public data can make your life better. Whether it's route planning using public geo-information or public transport data, a local community crowd-sourcing its maintenance priorities, decision-making built on statistics of all shapes and sizes, or data journalism that helps explain our world," she told attendees.
"Research in genomics, pharmacology or the fight against cancer increasingly depends on the availability and sophisticated analysis of large data sets," the commissioner continued. "Sharing such data means researchers can collaborate, compare, and creatively explore whole new realms. We cannot afford for access to scientific knowledge to become a luxury, and the results of publicly funded research in particular should be spread as widely as possible."