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The Global Impact of Open Data by Stefaan Verhulst, Andrew Young

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Chapter 6. Denmark’s Open Address Data Set

Consolidating and Freeing-up Address Data

Summary: A broad variety of services depend on accurate, up-to-date address data, including emergency services; the police; postal and transport services; and GPS systems. In 2005, the Building and Dwelling Register of Denmark started to release its address data to the public free of charge. Prior to that date, each municipality charged a separate fee for access, rendering the data practically inaccessible. Other entities, such as the Cadastre, the Land Registry, the Central Business Register and the utilities sector, collected their own address information, leading to significant discrepancies between the content held across different databases. A follow-up study commissioned by the Danish government estimated the direct financial benefits alone for the period 2005-2009 at EUR 62 million, at a cost of only EUR 2 million.

Dimension of Impact: Improving Government—Improving Services

Key Takeaways:

  • In highly open, transparent societies, the opening of government data can be successfully justified and driven by expected economic benefits from increased efficiency and innovation within government, without the need for political arguments for transparency.

  • Relatedly, efforts to collect and open data can uncover major gaps and deficiencies in official government data sources, creating benefits to internal efficiency and recordkeeping, often with ...

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