What Is Open Data and Why Is It Important?
Open data is data that is accessible to the public and can be used, re-used, and redistributed by anyone. It’s not to be confused with Big Data, the term used to describe the increasing quantity and complexity of data being generated around the world every day.
Open data refers to the variety of information that is generated by public entities, and how that information is made accessible for others to use. In Australia, data.gov.au is the open data database created to centralise all available public data online. It makes it easier for government agencies and private entities alike to exchange and make use of different types of data.
To determine what makes data open, the data must follow these three guidelines:
- Data must be available in a convenient and modifiable format and at no more than a reasonable reproduction cost.
- Data must be provided under conditions that allow re-use and redistribution.
- Data must be able to be used by everyone.
It’s important to remember that open data focuses on non-personal data, or data that does not contain information about specific individuals.
What Is an Example of an Open Data Set?
One of the most frequently updated and complete data sources for financial information is the World Bank Open Data database. The group provides open access to global financial data and open data toolkits for governments and businesses to plan and implement open data programs.
How Does Open Data Work?
The financial data made available in open data sets can be used by banks, FinTech companies, and other financial organisations to improve operational efficiencies, better inform their market research and business insights with high quality data, and offer consumers more relevant products and services.
What Is the Difference Between Open Source and Open Data?
Open source and open data are not quite the same, but they both offer ways to create new and better services based on published data.
Open data is information made available for public use that increases transparency of government agencies and private entities.
Open-source software needs to be distributed freely without discrimination, and produces open data in the form of source code, the building blocks developers use for creating apps and APIs.
Open data and open source both intend to increase transparency of information, and ensure its availability to build trust between users and developers.
Open Data in Australia
As Australia moves toward open banking, there are also initiatives that move toward Australian open data. The 2015 Australian Public Data Policy Statement in 2015 mandates government entities to make data publicly available, and The Consumer Data Right gives consumers more control over their data.
Open data in Australia is here to stay, and will continue to be pivotal as the energy sector, and possibly the telecommunications industry prepare to be next to move to open data systems.