Lisbon Workshop: Encouraging open data usage by commercial developers

Call For Participation

The open data movement, and the PSI Directive, are promoted as being good for government transparency, government efficiency and economic growth. In this, the second Share-PSI 2.0 workshop, we want to focus on that last point. Commissioner Neelie Kroes famously said that data is the new oil. There are claims that PSI is worth many billions of Euros to industry and that developers are itching to get their hands on the data, unleashing a tidal wave of creativity.


Let's look at some examples in public sector open data portals. A popular use of open data across Europe follows from the Bathing Water Quality Directive. Spain has Balnearios de España, produced by the State Agency for Management of Innovation and Technology Tourism SA (SEGITTUR). The UK has its official Bathing Water Quality explorer and a mobile app produced by a firm of architects (Arup) called Beach Selecta. France has its official bathing water quality site that allows you to explore French bathing water quality but the data is not published separately and therefore is not used in applications such as Vamos a la Playa.

All these bathing water quality applications are free to use and, with the exception of Beach Selecta, created by the relevant ministry. These are a few simple examples of government efficiently providing information to citizens, certainly, but there's no economic stimulation here (except for the ministries' contractors). Hackathons, such as Flood Hack are often organised to stimulate creativity around newly opened data sets and they are certainly effective at doing that – but do they lead to commercial success? Well, in the case of events like Denmark's AFSNIT, the prizes are substantial (100,000 DKK is over €13,000) but finding examples of profitable exploitation of open data can be hard.

Notable examples include DataMarket, the Transport API and Xpresslegal. Sites like Open Data list a lot of applications but many of these, like the bathing water examples, are not commercial. So what is the reality of the commercial services built on (free) open data that the PSI Directive foresees? Companies like Skobbler, Cloudmade, ENAiKOON and Naviki all make commercial use of a single open data source: Open Street Map, but are they and the ones presented in these 60 second video pitches from the Open Data Institute the tip of the iceberg or the exceptions to the rule? What happens to all the other open data?

Workshop Aims

AMA logo

Hosted by the Portuguese Agency for Public Services Reform, AMA, the Lisbon workshop provides an opportunity for a wide variety of stakeholders to come together to discuss and build the relationship between the public and private sectors in the context of Europe's revised PSI Directive.

From the public sector we look forward to examples of successful, and perhaps less successful, attempts to engage with small and big enterprise who have (re)used public sector data in their business model, and commercial developers who (re)use open data in their products.

From the private sector we're seeking case studies of commercially successful use of public sector data and to identify the most pressing demands and the barriers to greater commercial use of public sector data.

By considering both sides we aim to offer pragmatic advice on how to achieve a productive and prosperous supply and demand relationship.

Workshop Style

The majority of the two days of the workshop will be devoted to small groups meeting to discuss particular themes. Session leaders are asked to facilitate a discussion, not give a presentation. See the Sunlight Foundation's Tips & Tricks page/video for more. In addition to the planned sessions, there will also be an opportunity to propose ad hoc discussions on the day (bar camp sessions).

The style will therefore be highly interactive discussions where participants can talk about ideas and possible solutions to common problems. Up to 5 sessions will be running at any one time.

In addition, there will be two plenary sessions that will include a small number of presentations of high quality work and some keynote talks from:

Indicative list only

  • Miguel Poiares Maduro, Cabinet Office Minister for Regional Development;
  • Robert Madelin, Director General of the European Commission DG CONNECT;
  • Steve Adler, IBM, co-chair of the W3C Data on the Web Best Practices Working Group.


LAPSI 2.0, the European Thematic Network on Legal Aspects of Public Sector Information, is the perfect complement to Share-PSI 2.0. Where Share-PSI 2.0 focusses on technical and practical measures to implement the revised PSI Directive, LAPSI focusses on the legal aspects. Over several interactive sessions, the LAPSI partners will facilitate discussions based on the project's outcomes, in particular:

  • licence interoperability;
  • licensing guidelines;
  • good practices on institutional embedding and enforcement;
  • the PSI toolbox, a guide through the labyrinth of the regulatory framework for PSI;
  • access and data protecion;

all of which are essential if PSI is to be exploited commercially.


Since publication of this call for participation, many proposals for sessions and plenary talks have been received and reviewed by the programme committee. The agenda is now stable and general registration is open. Participation is free.

Anyone present at the workshop may propose a bar camp session. Ideas can be submitted at any time before or during the workshop. There's no Programme Committee review - people vote with their feet on the day!

Topics include, but are not limited to:

  • successful commercial exploitation of public sector data;
  • barriers to commercial exploitation of public sector information;
  • experiences of commercial/public sector interaction;
  • expectations met and unexpected outcomes of working with open data in a commercial environment.

Submission guidelines

Papers should be submitted in a non-proprietary format (HTML, PDF, ePub etc.) via e-mail to If you already subscribe to any W3C mailing lists you'll be able to post to that address, if not, please send your submission to Phil Archer. Please include an abstract of the paper in your e-mail. Note that the archive for this e-mail address is visible to Share-PSI partners and W3C Team only.

Submissions by more than one author are welcome; however only the coordinating author (as indicated in the submission) of the selected paper will be invited to take part in the Share-PSI workshop. Additional authors will be able to attend the workshop only if space allows. All selected contributions and associated slides will be published in the Share-PSI 2.0 Web site after the announcement of results under a ccBy licence.

Call for collocation

The Share-PSI 2.0 partners encourage other groups to propose sessions and perhaps hold face to face meetings in Lisbon during that first week of December 2014.

As well as LAPSI, the LIDER project is planning to run some sessions where they'll discuss their work on creating a Linguistic Linked Data cloud that can support content analytics tasks of unstructured multilingual cross-media content.

The Lisbon workshop, with its highly interactive format across multiple tracks, plus high profile speakers, is a perfect place to boost your project's dissemination activities.


The venue for the workshop is the National Laboratory for Civil Engineering (LNEC), Av Do Brasil 101 1700-066 Lisboa, Portugal. Practical information is provided on the wiki.

Questions? Please contact Phil Archer, Share-PSI 2.0 coordinator and W3C Data Activity Lead.