The Nexus of Forces in Action – Use-Case 10: Open Government Data Interchange



Government data made available free to anyone to use. Data produced or commissioned by government or government controlled entities. Data that is open as defined in the Open Definition – that is, it can be freely used, re-used, and redistributed by anyone. Ability to transfer and acquire products and services across multiple country borders. Provide secure, regulation-compliant information to citizens and businesses via open APIs.

Primary Industry Sectors


Business Value

Transparency: in a well-functioning, democratic society citizens need to know what their government is doing. Releasing social and commercial value, participatory government, cost efficiencies of public federal budgets, democratic use of data by citizens, optimization of common citizen services, value of open data insight, cost efficiencies of public federal budgets.

Key Business Functions

Creation of a range of citizen and governmental services, common administrative services, citizen services information portals, common provisioning of service portals, platform services for administrative shared services; e.g., email, print, collaboration, social network channel integration

Primary Actors

Country citizen

Secondary Actors

Government policy, government online services

Machine Actors

Search engines, web services, semantic linked open data (as defined by W3C), MDM, messaging, integration, cloud (private, public, hybrid, community), web services, citizen activity and preferences analytics, HPC, DRM, open source, social networks

Key Technologies

Online marketplace stores, cloud, open API connectivity

Main Scenarios

  • Market and internal shared services
  • Common government data
  • Shared government data

Key Data

Master Data

Government information contained in text, documents (e.g., OpenDocument, OpenPresentation, OpenSpreadsheet), PDF, various imaging, audio, video, archiving and compression formats (e.g., 7z), web page data (e.g., CSS, HTML).

Current Observations Data

Copyright status, owner source

Historical Data

Archive storage, access retrieval rights

Query Data

Open usage status

Action Taken Data

Open status of data usage

Real Business Examples is a US Government website launched in late May 2009 by the then Federal Chief Information Officer (CIO) of the United States, Vivek Kundra. According to its website: “The purpose of is to increase public access to high-value, machine-readable datasets generated by the Executive Branch of the Federal Government.” is a UK Government project to make available non-personal UK Government data as open data. It was launched in closed beta in September 2009 and publicly launched in January 2010. As of January 2013 it contained over 9,000 datasets. (See the websiteand case studies.)


In Greater Manchester, UK, Trafford Council provides InfoTrafford, a free-to-access, web-based data store with visualization tools, to help citizens better understand the open data they release.

Additional Considerations

Existing Interoperability Standards

RDF and Open Data Linkage (see the TWC LOGD article).

Open Definition (see the Open Definition website).

Open Formats: an open file format is a published specification for storing digital data, usually maintained by a standards organization, which can therefore be used and implemented by anyone. For example, an open format can be implemented by either proprietary or free and open source software, under the typical software licenses used by each. In contrast to open formats, closed formats are considered trade secrets. Open formats are also called free file formats if they are not encumbered by any copyrights, patents, trademarks, or other restrictions (for example, if they are in the public domain) so that anyone may use it at no monetary cost for any desired purpose. (See Open Formats in Wikipedia.)

Industry Bodies

The Open Knowledge Foundation is a non-profit organization founded in 2004 and dedicated to promoting open data and open content in all their forms – including government data, publicly funded research, and public domain cultural content. (See the Open Knowledge Foundation website and video.)

Comments on Context

Government and local government open data initiatives.


Policies on open data principles; e.g., Open Data Principles UK Government.