• January 20, 2023

Open data in France : what is the use of public data

Open data in France: what is the use of public data ?

France is one of the precursors of open data in Europe. In the country, data openness is mostly practiced by the public sector. On its side, the private sector is still lagging behind.

Most of the time, the availability of their data sets by companies is motivated by obligations. To remove the obstacles, it is necessary to determine the interest of open data.

Qu’is it’an open data site ?

L’open data refers to the publication of digital data under open license. In concrete terms, it is possible to freely access this data. In addition, their reuse and their sharing are authorized and do not imply any technical, financial or legal condition.

Open data is also known as ” open data ” open data “. According to the Sunlight Foundation, this term refers to any raw data that is :

  • Primary ;
  • Complete ;
  • Timely;
  • Accessible;
  • Exploitable ;
  • Non-owner ;
  • Non-discriminatory;
  • Permanent ;
  • Royalty free ;
  • Free.

A A site is said to be open data when it allows free access to data meeting these criteria. This is notably the case of the open data portal data.gouv.fr animated by the mission Etalab.

With the rapid evolution of the Web and its innumerable applications, the data know an exponential multiplication. Their continuous production promotes the democratization of the open data principle. At the same time, this situation tends to make the Web pass from a tool of information and knowledge to a simple support of data. For to transform these data into information, the intervention of intermediaries is necessary.

It is therefore necessary to think about the pedagogy of data on various levels, including production, distribution, processing, valuation and ethics.

L’open data in France, as everywhere else, also poses the problem of compatibility with the respect of personal data. For example, municipalities with more than 3,500 inhabitants and at least 50 employees are required to make certain documents and data in their possession freely available online. This is a provision of Article L.312-1-1 of the CRPA (Code of relations between the public and the State)’administration).

However, if the files contain personal data relating to the private life of the individuals concerned, their dissemination is not possible.

In this context, the CNIL, in association with the CADA, has unveiled a practical guide concerning the publication of public data online and their reuse. These authorities list the means allowing to reconciling the obligations of administrations and the respect of privacy.

In a global way, this document has been designed to highlight the legal framework of open data and its compliance with the RGPD.

Who uses it’open data ?

Who uses open data?

The data produced by local authorities and other public actors concern various fields. It can be data geographical, from statistics, of regulatory documents, of barometers or even todirectories.

L’open data in France can be used by different types of actors: citizens, companies, researchers, associationsThe objective is to facilitate the reuse of open data for :

  • Improve services provided to citizens or create new ones;
  • Generate new knowledge;
  • To feed the public debate, etc.

Its use in the Covid-19 pandemic illustrates very well the potential of’open public data. As the government has pointed out, the health crisis has demonstrated that open data can help to significantly improve public policies and promote their transparency.

As an illustration, the dissemination of data from hospitals has been exploited by many companies to anticipate the entries of patients. Using this predictive data, teams dealing with infected patients can better organize themselves. Since the coronavirus has been raging in France, no less than 200 applications and services have been developed by companies and local authorities, but also by individuals.

What is the’interest of’open data for organizations ?

What is the interest of open data for organizations?

The example cited above proves that open data allows todrive beneficial change. For organizations (cities, communities or ministries), this type of evolution has repercussions on their very structure, but also on their agents. More precisely, when an organization opens its data, it increases the transparency of public action.

In addition, the quality of the data made public is improved. Indeed, before opening the data in its possession, an organization will necessarily work to improve it. It will see its legitimacy reinforced, especially with the reuse of the information it manages for various purposes.

On the other hand, by adopting a open data strategy, an organization will have to multiply collaborations with external actors. Finally, opening access to its data will allow it to contribute to the’interoperability of public services since other administrations will be able to reuse them more easily.

Thanks to the’open data in France, the offer in terms of public services will therefore be improved. For example, data produced and held by cities can be used to design mobile applications to improve transportation.

How the’open data enables new services to be produced ?

How does open data enable the production of new services?

L’data openness make possible the creation of new services insofar as it allows for a better understanding of citizens’ behaviors. For example, traffic data can be used to determine the travel habits of residents. Organizations, but also any project leader, can use this information to develop applications for mobility.

In order to be reused and to allow the implementation of new services, the data made available must however respect several conditions. In particular, they need to be complete and contextualized. It must also be open under a standard format (CSV, JSON, Shapefile, etc.).).

Indeed, a potential reuser may be discouraged if he finds that the exploitation of a dataset may be complicated.

In addition, it is important to offer some leeway. To do this, it is necessary to opt for a standard format permissive reuse license like the one of Etalab. The latter allows, among other things, the exploitation of open data for commercial purposes.

Re-users have the opportunity to create new business models.