Paradigm shift in Germany: Open Goverment Data

by alexdunkel

GovData DE

Open Data portal for DE

Last week, the German government finally agreed to the implementation of the Open Data and Open Government action plan before the end of this year (2016).

Some explanation to the unfamiliar reader: Unlike in the USA and in many other countries, data collected by public administration units in Germany is usually not available to the public (despite the fact that administration is financed by public taxes). If any, heavy fees must be paid to access even basic data such as street networks, demographic data, or municipal boundaries. This brought particular disadvantages for German Software and App-Engineering. With this step towards the Open Government, a paradigm shift was completed that originated from the G8 Open Data Charta in 2013.

I remember the day when I needed cadastral data for the city of Bad Schandau in my diploma thesis in 2010. As a student, I had to pay about 1/10th of the regular price (which was about EUR 2500). A signed letter from my Professor was necessary, and I had to wait several weeks for an answer. At least there is hope that this chapter of unnecessary restrictions soon ends.