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Montevideo, Uruguay

A working group for opening public data

A process for standardising geographic data and free access publishing.

In Uruguay, from the 1990s, municipal civil servants took the initiative of sharing, public topographic and cartography data free of charge. In order to formalise this process, an open data work group was launched within the municipality of Montevideo in 2010. In parallel, a national law was voted to promote the adoption of free software and open standards in the public sector.

This process relied on sets of geographic and transport data in the available formats having already been published on the Internet in open access Open access The making available online of digital content which may itself be free or under an intellectual property regime, but open access. In theory, open access can include access to data to allow data mining. . The conversion and standardisation of public data into open format required specific human resources.

This initiative responds to demand from the private sector identified by the municipality to support the development of applications, in particular for tourism (transport, tourist guides, mapping of recyclable bins for example).

Lessons learnt

  • A working group constituted within the municipality prepared the process and tested an initial, free publication of some data.
  • In a favourable regulatory framework, the publication of public data in open formats allows the private sector to develop applications that meet the inhabitants’ needs.

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Managing urban services  /  Municipal capacity building

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