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Open Data in Italy


Art. 4 - by De Zorzi Silvano - Regione Veneto, De Zorzi Stefania Global Infotech

Ever since the EU "Digital Agenda for Europe conference was held in Venice in July 2014, under the auspices of Mrs. Merkel, Mr. Hollande and the Italian Presidency, there has been intense interest in open data at the national level.

In particular, the Italian Government, through the website of the Agency for Digital Italy has released the rules that public administration have to follow, with precise wording in the legislation "... to promote national policies for the development of public information and to direct government towards a process of the production and release of public data standardized and interoperable on a national scale."


Implementing these rules addresses both political and technical issues for Public Administrations and databases of national interest. 


However, interpretation and definition of the technical guidelines also stimulates and engages diverse owners of databases, including in the private sector. 


The affected stakeholders include not only those, with a national interest, but also public administrations with territorial remits, e.g. in Regions and Municipalities. 


Public administrations with many different titles and responsibilities collect and publish data, much of which incorporate geographic features.


Italy has even adopted the "5 star classification" for Open Data proposed by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, founding father of the Web, and proposed the hub architecture as the operational model for implementing dissemination or and access to open data. As for geographic data, the INSPIRE Directive and related EC Regulations are the technical legislation that must already be followed in Europe, along with use of terminology dictionaries such GEMET (General Multilingual Environmental Thesaurus) and ThIST. In particular, the Veneto Region was among the foremost public administrations to have adopted this vision of sharing geographic Information from starting and lead this sector, promoting his Open Data Portal since 2012. The portal is the outcome of an agreement within Formez PA that, on behalf of the Italian Government, manages the national portal within Veneto is federated.


The data are available on the web in Open format and published with licences that allow the reuse and where is possible also for the business.


In few months the Regional Open Data portal has published hundreds of datasets coming from regional departments and linked organizations. Veneto Region offers its know-how and technology as Authority of support for the management of the Open Data Portals for all the Public Authorities on Veneto territory. This table shows the presence in Italian Regions of the Open Geo Data (source: OpenGeoData 2014 report).

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