Last edited 30 Nov 2016

Open data

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The Open Data Institute (ODI) proposes that 'open data' is information that is licensed for anyone to use, for any purpose, at no cost.

Open definition proposes that a 'work' is 'open' if it satisfies a number of conditions, including:

  • Availability as a whole and at no more than a reasonable reproduction cost, preferably downloaded via the Internet without charge.
  • Availability in a convenient and modifiable form.
  • Its license does not restrict any party from selling or giving away the work.
  • Its license does not require a royalty or other fee for sale or distribution.
  • Its license allows modifications and derivative works to be distributed under the terms of the original work.
  • It is provided in such a form that there are no technological obstacles to its use.
  • Requirements for attribution are not onerous.

It suggests that 'work' denotes a piece of knowledge which is being transferred, whether that is; content such as music, films, books; data be it scientific, historical, geographic or otherwise; government and other administrative information.

See Open definition for more information.

The Open Data Institute suggest that when several different organisations publish data relating to a similar field, it is beneficial if they adopt the same format. Ideally, open data should be published in a format defined in an open standard, delivered over a protocol defined in an open standard, and licensed with an open licence.

Publishing open data can:

  • Provide greater transparency and encourage participation.
  • Make it easier to share and use information.
  • Release value in poorly used data.
  • Encourage innovation.
  • Encourage collaboration.
  • Increase use of paid-for products or services.

There is clearly great potential for the use of open data in construction, particularly with the emergence of building information modelling (BIM). Open data might allow:

  • Better prediction of demand pipelines.
  • Better understanding of the availability of resources.
  • Better understanding of how people use buildings.
  • The analysis of performance data for buildings in use.
  • Analysis of traffic flows.
  • Better availability of product information and component models.
  • Interoperability of software and exchange of building information models.
  • Better creation of Construction Operations Building Information Exchange (COBie) files and linked data.
  • Knowledge capture at the end of projects for the benefit of future projects.
  • Closer and more straight-forward collaborative working.

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