“If Switzerland is not yet a model regarding the opening of public data, it is a student who learns quickly.” This is how Opendata.ch presented the fifth edition of the opendata.ch/2015 Conference which took place in Bern on July 1st.
The main topic of the conference was where Switzerland currently stands in terms of open data and transparency - “Is it just an empty promise or rather a real state imperative?”. OpenData.ch is the Swiss chapter of the Open Knowledge Foundation. Switzerland is not at this time a member of the Open Government Partnership.
In his presentation at the conference, Andreas Kellerhals, who is head of the Swiss Federal Archives and in charge of the Swiss Open Government Data initiative, briefly detailed the evolution of Swiss administration in Open Data. In 2014, for example, the Federal Council adopted a policy for generalising free access to public data in Switzerland for the period 2014-2018. According to the policy: “The legal, organisational, financial and technical framework conditions of data production in the different administrative units are to meet the requirements of OGD free access and allow, where this makes sense, the public provision of data without additional effort ("Open Data by default")“.
A single Open Government Data portal
At the beginning of 2015, the Open Data public strategy was transferred from the “Unité de pilotage informatique de la Confédération (UPIC) to the Federal Archives to unify and centralise its management. A pilot portal, aimed at centralising public data, was then built.
To date, 1855 datasets have been published on the pilot portal, 1 700 from the national statistics office, 57 from the canton of Zurich, and the rest from several national Office.
According to Andreas Kellerhal, a v2 of the portal is expected in the first half of 2016. The new portal is aimed at making data publication easy and increasing data volume by gathering multiple databases.
Kellerhals said that work is under progress in various fields, including how data can be legally used and the standardisation of metadata.