1st March 2024

Open data and why is it important?

What is open data and what impact does it have on society? We spoke with Marie-Astrid Cauquy, member of the Data Management Department at Spuerkeess, who provided us with information as well as useful advice for our readers who wish to use open data effectively.

Why is open data important?

Open Data refers to the free availability of data collected by public or private organisations. This data may concern various domains such as health, education, the environment, transport, etc. The main objective is to make this information accessible to all, which promotes transparency, innovation, and collaboration. Open Data can also stimulate research, develop new applications and create economic opportunities. 

What is the impact of Open Data on society and what is a concrete example of the use of Open Data?

Open Data has a significant impact on society. By facilitating access to precious information, it allows citizens to make more informed decisions. For example, open data on air quality may help inhabitants to avoid the most polluted areas. Moreover, developers can use this data to create innovative applications, such as interactive maps to monitor public transport or tools enabling the comparison of financial products. 

In short, Open Data is a crucial practice that promotes transparency, innovation and access to information. While it presents challenges, its potential to catalyse social, economic and technological progress has made it a growing field of interest in the world of data and technology. 

What types of data can potentially be open?

Data that is not subject to legal restrictions on publication can mainly be considered for being made available as Open Data. This is not the case for personal data, intellectual property, or information related to national security, all of which are excluded from the scope of Open Data. With regard to public sector organisations, the publication of data is subject to the Law of 29 November 2021 on open data and the reuse of public sector information. It should be kept in mind that this law and the PSI (Public Sector Information) directive require them to make their data open. 

How can I access and use open data?

The Luxembourg government has created a national portal for open data and a catalogue of data at https://data.public.lu, where anyone can publish data and cases of its reuse. You can find at this site the following cases of indirect uses: CREOS Luxembourg S.A.’s data reused to display forecasts of the national level of electricity consumption generated by the StroumMonitor tool, the Mobilitéit-Bot, or a Minecraft Scene from the Diekirch centre, based on LIDAR data. 

Tips for using open data: 

  1. Understand the nature of open data. Before exploring open data, it is essential to understand the significance of the information that is made accessible.  
  2. Pay close attention to security and confidentiality. Make sure that you comply with security protocols. Use reliable and secure sources to access this information. 
  3. Explore dedicated tools and platforms. Explore these resources to understand offers, compare services and usage constraints (licences).  
  4. And why not contribute yourself to the Open Data ecosystem? If you are a developer or a professional in the field of data, consider contributing to the Open Data ecosystem. You can create innovative applications, tools or analyses based on this data.  

Participating in the improvement and use of this information can have a positive impact on the community as a whole; so, don't hesitate to share. In a forthcoming article, we will present a use case carried out by Spuerkeess using open data.

Innovation Sustainability