Dataplatform

Submitted by
Wunderkraut NL
The Case
Category
Overheid
Short introduction
Dataplatform is a SaaS that offers a service to the participants where they can serve open data in a structured way to the public. Thereby the project is delivering three key components, which makes this case a worthy candidate for the award:
1. Dataplatform makes the world a better place
2. Dataplatform gives transparency from the government towards the citizen
3. Dataplatform will make Drupal a better tool.

Dataplatform is both a community and a service. As a service it is offering a platform for open data where journalists and citizens can see the data of their government. As a community it is the product for and from the participating municipalities who are actively involved in extending the platform by helping each other in sessions and workshops with knowledge, code, functionality and steer together towards the growth of the service.

The site is serving three persona's. On one hand it helps the developer with structured open -mostly CC licensed- data via open interfaces (API's). For professionals, such as journalists and civic servants, the data is categorized according to an open standard ("DCAT") and available in many open formats (json, CSV, etc). For the general public, data is visualized in an easy understandable way. When the user wants to analyse the data beyond the visualizations that are on the dataplatform.nl itself, the user can download an XSL file and parse it locally in a spreadsheet.
Launch date
Background
Before the creation of this Dataplatform there was no platform available where the stored data could be presented in a structured way for the user. The data was purely stored in CKAN where one can do API calls to query the data. For this reason Civity wanted to give the stored data in CKAN a generic portal and a dedicated portal. The small portal is for the municipality, for example https://utrecht.dataplatform.nl/. Journalists however, want to work with the same data sets from different municipalities to compare and hence the data of all 30+ participating municipalities. This is available on https://www.dataplatform.nl/. The data available on https://www.dataplatform.nl/ is automatically synchronized towards the generic data.overheid.nl website and even towards the register of the European community. This is all possible from a small subsite with a very low cost SaaS solution.

Every month, the site is updated in template and functionality, with the last major overhaul in March 2017. By having a monthly update release cycle, we assimilate the feature request from the participating municipalities, developers and end users and bring the site to live in an ever green state.
Objectives
The primary goal of the website is to make the world a better place by presenting the open data of governments in the most accessible way for citizens, journalists and developers.
For developers this is done through an API (including all API management such as throttling, keys, payed services etc), for journalist this is done in a structured DCAT form and for the citizens in an easy XLS or CSV format. Data is automatically harvested from open sources, from internal systems of participants and through manual uploads. There are already more than 1000 datasets available at the moment.
Results
The ambitious goal "to make the world a better place by open data" is already taking place. There are special applications in use that adapt and build upon the open data that is being accessed through an API. One example is http://utrecht.slimmelden.nl. On this mobile friendly web application, users can use the webapp to report when something is missing or not right. The web application is using the geo information of Dataplatform on objects in the public space, while the user generated notifications of the citizens are geo tagged send towards the backend system of the municipality of Utrecht. By using the structured data of Dataplatform and from the API's, application developers can add and create new opportunities.
Technical challenges
Drupal is the frontend of the service. The data itself is stored in CKAN, searches go through SOLR and elastic and the datasets are growing fast and are rather big. For this reason, creating a scalable infrastructure in procedures, infrastructure and connections is key. The number of backend connections go beyond the standard database integration services, we also offer for example throttling on API's that we use. By having all this in pace we have created an excellent scalable futureproof system that is adding value to its participants and the general public on a day by day basis.
Challenges in (combination of) modules
Detached from the standard modules (e.g. paragraphs, views, piwik, etc) we have been building all modules for the connections ourselves as well as the modules that make it easy to create on the spot visualizations of the data.
Contribution form the project to the Drupal-community
We are in the process of contributing the modules we created for drupal.org and are writing down of our experience, so they can be reused.
Name client
Civity
What does the client think about the project?
Both Civity and their customers but more important the end users, are really enjoying the open data. Arjen Hof: "Our customers and their users create information from files that enables them to tell stories about data’’.
Screenshot