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The effects of open data on the business model of National Mapping Agencies: which adaptations will be required to ensure sustainable financing?

Frederika Welle Donker, Joep Crompvoets and Bastiaan van Loenen

(Submission #287)


Since 2009, Open Government Data initiatives have been launched worldwide and the concept of open data is gaining momentum. Open data are often associated with realizing ambitions, such as increased economic value and solving societal problems. There is ample literature describing the benefits of open data, and showing examples of economic and social benefits. However, to switch to an open data policy and to facilitate data sharing poses a challenge to business models of National Mapping Agencies (NMAs). Especially self-funding NMAs have to find a balance between generating sufficient revenue to cover a substantial part of their operating costs and facilitating data sharing. The traditional business models of NMAs are based on generating revenue from licence fees for their datasets, which contain authoritative and authentic data. A shift from licenced data supply to open data supply often means a loss of revenue in the short term. This immediate loss of revenue may pose a risk to data update frequencies and data quality, especially for authoritative data, e.g. key registers. On the other hand, open data may also offer direct benefits to NMAs, for example, data quality may increase because citizens and companies can provide feedback as well. However, it is by no means a certainty that the indirect benefits of open data outweigh the direct costs of the NMAs. With the loss of revenue due to open data, NMAs have to find alternative sources of revenue, for instance, by providing additional fee-based services or developing tools and platforms to facilitate reusers and to incorporate data generated by citizens and companies. NMAs will have to re-assess their position in the information value chain. To be able to move from data suppliers to data enablers will require NMAs to think out of the box. EuroSDR, in cooperation with Eurogeographics, commenced a research to assess the effects of open data policies on the business model of National Mapping Agencies. This includes effects on the way the organisations are able to (re)finance their operational costs and to ensure long-term sustainability of their (open) data. This paper will present the results of this research.


Topic Area:  [4.1]INSPIRE Thinking out of the box – INSPIRE innovation
Abstract Type:  Oral Presentation

Additional Fields

Comments:   open data; business models; National Mapping Agencies


[Workshop Description (DOCX)]  

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