The European Union has finally unveiled its Open Data Portal that will allow public sector organisations from 32 European countries to share data between themselves.
The portal will bring together public data from all over Europe into one central place, holding 240,000 datasets from the participating countries, and over 13 content categories ranging from health to transport to justice.
The portal will enable citizens, businesses, journalists or administrations to search, access and re-use the full data for any purpose.
Wendy Carrara, principal consultant at Capgemini Consulting, one of the firms that has been working on the project, said in a blog post: "Its goal is to be a gateway offering access to data published by administrations in countries across Europe, from the EU and beyond."
"Additionally we will support public administrations in publishing more data as open data, and have targeted actions to stimulate re-use," she added.
"By taking a look at the data released by other countries and made available on the European Data Portal, governments can also be inspired to publish new datasets they had not though about in the first place."
In a study carried out by the European Data Portal team, the market for open data is expected to grow by 36.9 per cent to 75.7 billion by 2020.
The report also said that the EU28+ countries had completed just 44 per cent of the journey towards achieving full open data maturity, but there are large discrepancies across countries.
However, the UK leads the way with solid open data practices, according to the report. It had the highest national traffic to its own open data portal in Europe with 175,400 visitors a month.
The report also said that the effective use of Open Data could help save 629 million hours of unnecessary waiting time on the roads in the EU, and help reduce energy consumption by 16 per cent.
The accumulated cost savings for public administrations making use of Open Data across the EU28+ in 2020 are predicted to equal 1.7 billion, the EU claimed.
The portal is part of a project by the EU to create a single digital market.
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Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.