Joint Research Centre
Digital Earth Lab

Digital transformation in economy and society will continue to produce more data than ever before. We investigate some of the mechanisms and potential barriers to simulate the uptake of these data sets and to enable new ways of value creation from (big) data in order to boost the European economy. The release of Open Data is considered as one major factor.

Data has been characterized as the ‘new oil’ and appears as a major influential factor to stimulate innovation and growth within the Single Digital Market. Value-creation from free and open data is one of the facets of the data-driven economy. Yet, following Open Data initiatives around the globe and within the EU, it has to be recognized that the pure discovery and access provision does not automatically create an ecosystem for innovative ideas and new business potentials.

In collaboration with other services of the European Commission, we develop new mechanisms to accelerate the use of free and open data and at the same time provides feedback to data providers in order to ease data uptake.

Our considerations primarily concentrate on the re-use of free and open data from the earth observation, geospatial and environmental sectors. In these areas, initiatives including the development of the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), the European space program (Copernicus), the infrastructure for spatial information in Europe to support Community (INSPIRE) and the Open Data initiatives within the European Commission helped to unlock many data sets that have the potential to fuel innovation but their actual use by industry, especially European Small and Medium Enterprise (SMEs), and research centers remains limited. We began to examine usage barriers and to develop recommendations for possible improvements.