Open data in government – a list of global resources

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We are in a world where insight and business decision-making is increasingly driven by multiple data-sets. And some of the most useful and most comprehensive of these data-sets come from public sources: understanding the demographics of a country, how people move round cities and the transport network, health data and employment data. Much of this is available in real-time.

The list of countries offering easy to find, download or access open data sets continues to grow, with some real areas of excellence coming out of BRIC markets. Here is our list of the most useful government open data sites around the world. We’ll keep adding to this as access to public data grows.

A list of government open data portals

  • Australia: With the addition of over 2,500 new spatial data sets in early 2014, the site is an increasing resource for Australian government data. It is especially rich in mapping and location data.
  • Brazil: Launched at the end of 2011, the site is a growing resource for government data in Brazil. It is particularly rich in infrastructure data – from road networks to the provision of healthcare and other equipment by region.
  • Canada: The site brings together data-sets from over 20 Canadian government departments and agencies, including historical data. Some of the most popular data-sets range from waiting times at border crossings to data on Canadian soldiers in World War 1.
  • France: The French site has almost 13,000 data-sets across government departments and other public organisations, including the national train network, SNCF. The data is available in a number of formats and APIs exist for sets such as live train departure times in the Ile de France region.
  • Germany: The German site is currently running in Beta as they test and launch new data-sets. The site has a particularly good catalogue of apps that have been built with this data.
  • India: With over 6,000 data-sets, the Indian site is a great resource for both the data and visualisations of Indian government sources. The site is particularly strong at working with developers and students to encourage new apps and resources to be built on this data.
  • Italy: The site doubled the number of data-sets available in 2013 – with almost 9,000 at the start of 2014. Most of the data comes from central Italian government sources with an increasing number from cities and regions too.
  • Spain: Like the German site, the Spanish dato.gob.ed site is not only a rich source of Spanish government data, but a particularly strong resource for apps built from this data.
  • Switzerland: The Swiss site is a source not only of current Swiss government data sets, but particularly of historical data, some dating back to the 19th century.
  • United Kingdom: In the UK, the site provides access to non-personal government data in a reusable format. The site has been a particularly useful resource for people looking to create apps or build systems that use this data to provide insights.
  • United States: The US site provides machine-readable access to over 85,000 data-sets. It aims to put all government data that is not private or restricted into the public domain.