northern ireland global open data index tenth place 2016

Northern Ireland hits the Global Open Data Index

Yesterday, the 2016/17 Global Open Data Index (GODI) was agreed and published by the Open Knowledge Foundation.

The Index sets a benchmark for . It was created out of a need for the open data community to measure and compare progress on the level and quality of open data published in any country and to allow national communities to drive advocacy themselves. It measures the availability, openness and usefulness of a range of ten key datasets

This marks the first year that Northern Ireland has been included in the GODI since its inception in 2013 as its own separate entity. Previously, only the UK had been measured as a whole, and this couldn’t account for the difference in open data licensing and availability for our devolved government, instead concentrating only on the data publication initiatives undertaken at Whitehall.

So, we’re happy to see that Northern Ireland now has its own entry in the Index, and that it’s a relatively high score: 10th out of 94 countries included in this year’s Index.

And we’re pleased to be able to play a part in helping to progress open data initiatives in Northern Ireland as part of the open data community. It’s important to remember that open data is largely driven by people and government working together so that they can address common problems and challenges.

We’re also grateful to have been able to play a part in making sure that Northern Ireland was well represented in the ranking by helping to review and discuss the submissions for the NI entry on the OKFN forum.

How far have we come?

This being the first year that Northern Ireland has had its own entry in the Index, there’s no benchmark in previous years to see how much progress has been made. But speaking with local knowledge, a number of the datasets measured by the Index have been made open and accessible to all in the past two to three years since the launch of the NI Open Data Strategy and the creation of the OpenDataNI Portal.

National StatisticsProcurement
National LawsLocations
Administrative BoundariesGovernment Spending
Air QualityLand Ownership
Company Register
National Maps
Weather Forecast
Water Quality
Government Budget
Draft Legislation

Odd one out

Election Results rank as “not open” on the Index, though you may know that they are, in fact, openly available (in fact, our ElectionsNI project relies on this). As with the rest of the UK, election results are normally available at constituency or ward level, which doesn’t satisfy the requirements of the Index scoring framework for individual polling station level results. This restriction is perhaps for good reason – if only a small number of people voted at one polling station it might be possible to determine how they have voted. In fact, electoral law forbids the counting of votes in single ballot boxes. So, it seems wrong to not award any points to countries which don’t publish at this more granular level (when this change in the scoring system was made in 2015, it cost the UK its top spot in the Index. This is something that we’ve raised (along with others) with the GODI team to see if it should be changed.

openness of northern ireland datasets in GODI

On the NI entry page, you’ll find more information about the availability, openness and usability of some of those key datasets in Northern Ireland.

There is also an accompanying report, The State of Government Open Data 2017, written by the core team at the Open Knowledge International, which assess the 2016/17 results on a global scale and how data – and its usefulness – can be made better through public dialogue.

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