Open geographic data in the Netherlands

Bastiaan van Loenen, Stefan Kulk, M Grothe, Adrie Rovers

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeChapterScientific


    Ready access to public sector information (PSI) offers unprecedented opportunities for the de-velopment of new products and applications and to make existing public and private sector pro-cesses more efficient and effective. PSI has perhaps the greatest opportunities in the field of geo-graphic information. Geographic information is indispensable in the development and mainte-nance of the physical environment. It is an important ingredient in several public tasks and do-mains, such as traffic and transport, water management, economic development and spatial plan-ning, climate and environment, education and health care, security and emergency planning. Of-ten geographic information is collected and processed by the government itself or otherwise by third parties on behalf of government. This type of public sector information appears to be very useful for performing these public duties and tasks, but also for other purposes: the so-called re-use of public sector geographic information. The European Commission strongly advocates open data (European Commission, 2011). The Commission’s hopes are that the greater availability of interoperable public data catalyses secondary use of such data, which leads to growth of infor-mation industries and better government transparency and efficiency, and increased citizen partic-ipation in public processes. The economic potential of PSI re-use is estimated at least €40 bil-lion for the EU27 (Vickery 2011) and $900 billion per year worldwide (Manyika et al. 2013). Geographic information covers a significant part of these values (see Broomby et al. 2000, Dek-kers et al. 2006). The European Union introduced several legal instruments to stimulate re-use. The most prominent instrument is Directive 2003/98/EC on the re-use of public sector infor-mation (PSI Directive). The INSPIRE Directive 2007/2/EC establishing an Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community (INSPIRE) is especially designed and aimed at promoting access to and sharing of government geographic data (cf. Janssen 2009, Janssen 2011). The Netherlands is one of the EU countries that has fully embraced the spirit of open data and can be seen as one of the best practice countries concerning open geographic data.
    In this article we provide an insight in state of open geographic data in the Netherlands. The article starts with explaining open data and geographic data. Then we discuss two legal instru-ments that stimulate open data: the PSI Directive (2003/98/EC) and its amendment (2013/37/EU) and the INSPIRE Directive (2007/2/EC). Then we discuss the state of open geographic data in the Netherlands. The paper ends with conclusions.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationQuality of Life
    Subtitle of host publicationLegal and Tax systems to implement Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS) in Japan and the Netherlands
    EditorsYuka Shiba, Mami Oosugi, Kazuko Goto
    Place of PublicationJapan
    PublisherITSC Co.
    Number of pages14
    ISBN (Print)978-4-86474-111-8
    Publication statusPublished - 2019


    • Open data
    • spatial data
    • Netherlands


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