Promoting digital economy together through open data
Opening up public data: a new government commitment
Prime Minister François Fillon created the Etalab mission by decree on 21 February 2011. This mission coordinates government administrations and provides support to public administrative institutions to facilitate the widest possible reuse of public data.
Placed under the authority of the Prime Minister and attached to the General Secretariat of Government, Etalab responsibilities include creating a single interministerial portal, data.gouv.fr. It is intended to collect and provide citizens with all public sector data from the Government, its administrations and public institutions, and also from local authorities that wish to participate in the project.
Data.gouv.fr is a continuation of the Government's actions to modernize and simplify the relationship between citizens and their public services. Moreover, data.gouv.fr must address several challenges:
- Ensuring the sustainable updating of datasets and providing new datasets to enhance the French platform over the long term
- Encouraging the simplest and broadest possible reuse of public data
- Increasing government action transparency and highlighting the work of government officials
- Enabling exchanges between data producers and public re-users by establishing a collaborative space on the data.gouv.fr platform.
In March 2011, Etalab launched an invitation to tender to realize the implementation of the data.gouv.fr platform. The proposed tool had to be upgradable, robust and durable.
In June 2011, CGI was selected to implement this platform and help coordinate the actions of other providers involved in this project such as:
- The web agency, Be.pôle
- The content manager, EzPublish
- The search engine, Exalead
- The specialist in semantic web technologies, Mondeca.
More than 30 experts built a platform based on solid foundations for Etalab in just five months.
One of the cornerstones of the project's success is the importance given to the variety of data that can be searched. CGI therefore focused on this aspect by providing semantic tools and methods to collect (upstream) datasets.
The beta version of data.gouv.fr has been online since 5 December 2011. Its features include easy access to downloadable data (statistics, maps, economic and financial data), provision of easily reusable formats and a back office promoting each administration's autonomy in content delivery.
Since its launch, the site counts over 350,000 different datasets which is roughly the equivalent of what its American counterpart, data.gov, provides today. The platform specifically enables citizens to better follow government action and entrepreneurs to develop new services.
Designed to continually evolve, data.gouv.fr is today an initiative in motion. It will refine its roadmap by taking into account the producer and content re-user expectations through workshops and collaborative tools.
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