Since 2009, Open Government Data initiatives have been launched worldwide and the concept of open data is gaining momentum. Open data are often associated with realizing ambitions, such as a more transparent and efficient government, solving societal problems and increased economic value. There has been ample literature describing the (potential) benefits of open data. However, to switch to an open data policy may pose a challenge to the business model of National Mapping Agencies, especially if they are required to generate sufficient revenue to cover a substantial part of their operating costs.

National Mapping Agencies may be able to generate revenue by levying specific taxes or compulsory registration fees, e.g. for cadastral transactions. In addition, many National Mapping Agencies receive revenue from licence fees for their fee-based datasets, and/or provide additional services, such as providing tools or hosting a data platform. A shift from licenced data supply to open data supply often means a loss of revenue in the short term. The lost revenue due to open data may pose a risk to data update frequencies and data quality.

However, open data may also offer benefits to the organisation, for example, data quality may increase because citizens and companies can provide direct feedback. There may be efficiency gains due to the fact that data-providers no longer require to maintain a sales office. In addition, other public bodies no longer have to pay to use public sector datasets. However, it is by no means a certainty that the benefits of open data outweigh the costs. Moreover, to supply open data is one thing, to ensure sustainable open data from financial (sufficient funds in the future), technical aspect (availability in the long term) and organisational (sufficient human resources) aspects is quite another thing.

EuroSDR, in cooperation with Eurogeographics, commenced this research to assess the effects of open data policies on the business model of National Mapping Agencies. This includes effects on the way the organisations are able to (re)finance their operational costs and to ensure long-term sustainability of their (open) data. In addition, we would like to assess the future of open data within your organisation and within your country.

The questionnaire consists of 16 simple questions: the first four provide us with some general information; questions 5 to 8 relate to open datasets in your organisation and the financial component of your organisation’s business model; questions 9 and 10 deal with the governance of open data within your organisation; questions 12 and 13 provide us an insight into the effects of open data, and questions 14 to 16 relate to the future of open data. At the end of the questionnaire, there is an opportunity for you to provide us with comments and/or additional information. The link to the questionnaire is:

We cordially invite you to complete this questionnaire before April 30, 2017. It should take you about 10 minutes to complete. This is your chance to provide us with your open data experiences, hopes and fears. The outcomes of this questionnaire will be used as an input for a workshop to be held in June 2017 in Delft, the Netherlands.

Contact persons: Dr. Frederika Welle Donker ( and Prof. Dr. Joep Crompvoets (

About fjbehr

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Franz-Josef Behr, Professor of Geoinformatics at Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences ( His specializations include * Internet, Internet GIS * XML, GML, SVG * Data exchange and Interoperability * Visualization * Open Source Solutions * Consulting Member of the DIN working group NA 005-03-03 AA "Arbeitsausschuss Kartographie und Geoinformation" (Sp CEN/TC 287+ISO/TC 211). He is the author of two authoritative books on GIS in German, one is "Strategisches GIS-Management", published by Wichmann Verlag (2004). The second is "Einführung in Geographische Informationssysteme" (1997).

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