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Greenland shares its data distributor as open source

11/12/2017

Early next year, the government of Greenland will make available as open source the software for its new Grunddata public records system. The source code will most likely be published on GitHub, says Morten Kjærsgaard, CEO of Magenta, the Danish software specialist contracted to develop and implement the system.

The new Grunddata system shares data about people, companies, properties and addresses between public services, companies and citizens. It will be taken into production across the government in stages, between mid-December and mid-January.

In 2014 and 2105, Greenland, an autonomous country in the Kingdom of Denmark, considered using the Danish Grunddata software, Kjærsgaard says. However, the Danish system, development of which began in 2012, has suffered delays and cost overruns. Kjærsgaard says Greenland now has its own alternative, which it is making available as open source.

He also says the cost of Greenland’s Grunddata system will be a tiny fraction of Denmark’s. “Our agreement with Greeland’s government is that the development costs are DKK 3 million (about EUR 400,000), and the operations costs for 2018-2022 are DKK 2.5 million (about EUR 340,000). So all in all DKK 5.5 million (about EUR 740,000).

Sources at the Greenlandic Agency for Digitisation confirm that a few alternatives were evaluated, including making use of one of the main components of Denmark’s new Grunddata system, the central data broker (datafordeler). “Due to differences in complexity and scaling options it was decided to build our own Datafordeler,” the agency says.A map of Greenland, made to look like a fingerprint

Hard to compare

The Greenland and Danish Grunddata systems cannot easily be compared, says one of the Danish Grunddata project officers at Denmark’s Agency for Digitisation (Digitaliseringsstyrelsen - DIGST): “Since we don’t know the technical specifications, or the scope of Greenland’s solution, it is impossible for us to compare the two.”

DIGST says it has spent DKK 86.5 million (about EUR 12 million) on a data distributor, including all costs until 2022. The whole Grunddata solution will cost DKK 603,2 million (about EUR 81 million) covering the years 2012-2027, DIGST says. This includes developing a new data model, creating new registers and upgrading old registers, developing the data distributor itself, and testing.

Denmark’s data distributor will not be shared as open source, DIGST says, “but some of the Grunddata registers may use open source elements in their solutions.”

More information:

Greenland’s Grunddata
Denmark’s Grunddata
Greenland’s public records system will be open source

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