Brussels-Capital Region Open Data portal

This portal was established on the initiative of the Brussels-Capital Region and its administrations. These Brussels public services and some of their partners have joined forces to open up their data (Open Data), entirely in line with the regional smart city strategy. The portal, which uses CKAN technology, contains a variety of data.

Open Data – what does this mean?

The public sector in the broad sense is the source of an enormous amount of data created or collected by the public sector as part of its duties. Schedules for public transport, all manner of government statistics, catalogues of libraries or museums, maps, information about government revenue and spending, about public tenders, etc.

Except where the data are sensitive or personal, they are today considered a heritage that should exist to serve all. Open Data seeks precisely to open up these data to the public, where they can be consulted and reused, within the bounds of the licences defining the open rights (read data, copy them, redistribute them, etc., whether or not for commercial purposes).

How does Open Data contribute to the smart city?

Smartcity.brussels is the smart city portal of the Brussels-Capital Region. A smart city is a city committed fully to digitisation. Every piece of information about the geography, services, equipment, people, businesses of the city can be found in electronic form: digital data.

Where non-sensitive public data are concerned, Open Data presents a democratic opportunity. Open Data not only grants a wide public access to these data, it also gives them the opportunity to be informed: this contributes to the transparency of government.

Furthermore, this gives everyone the opportunity to develop innovative web services based on these services. According to the experts, the potential benefits of Open Data will translate into hundreds of jobs and millions of euros, just for the Brussels-Capital Region.

What can you find on Opendatastore.brussels?

Opendatastore.brussels is the platform that Open Data uses for the Brussels-Capital Region. More and more public administrations are depositing their data there so that citizens and developers can access it and reuse it for their own purposes.

Opendatastore.brussels makes data available:

  • linked to Creative Commons Attribution licences;
  • in the most common Open Data formats: CSV, gml, JSON, ZIP, ...
  • arranged by organisation (where the data come from);
  • tagged using keywords.

What technology is behind Opendatastore.brussels?

Opendatastore.brussels uses the CKAN platform for editors (regional and national governments, businesses and organisations) that want to open up their data and make it available to all.

CKAN is a world leader in accessible open-source data and constitutes a ready-to-use package for data access and use. It includes tools for rationalising the publication, sharing, retrieval and use of data (including the storage and exploitation of data using such APIs).

What is PSI directive?

The Directive on the re-use of public sector information (Directive 2003/98/EC, known as the 'PSI Directive') entered into force on 31 December 2003. It was revised by Directive 2013/37/EU which entered into force on 17 July 2013.

It focuses on the economic aspects of re-use of information rather than on the access of citizens to information. It encourages the Member States to make as much information available for re-use as possible.

The Directive covers written texts, databases, audio files and film fragments; it does not apply to the educational, scientific and broadcasting sectors.

See the consolidated text of the revised Directive.

Gender mainstreaming

Gender mainstreaming refers to the integration of the gender perspective in all policies, measures, preparations of budgets or actions taken by the Government of the Brussels-Capital Region in order to avoid or correct any inequalities between women and men. (Cf. art. 2, § 1 of the ordinance of March 29th 2012 for mainstreaming gender into the policies of the Brussels-Capital Region.)

Data characteristics

  • Data concern individuals : Data concerning individuals are data concerning natural persons. These data should however not be confused with personal data because they contain no information enabling to identificate the persons.
  • Sex-disaggregated data : Data that are collected and presented separately on men and women. (UNESCO, 2003)

Data category

  • Gender statistics are defined as statistics that adequately reflect differences and inequalities in the situation of women and men in all areas of life. Gender statistics are defined by the sum of the following characteristics: (a) data are collected and presented disaggregated by sex as a primary and overall classification; (b) data reflect gender issues; (c) data are based on concepts and definitions that adequately reflect the diversity of women and men and capture all aspects of their lives; and (d) data collection methods take into account stereotypes and social and cultural factors that may induce gender biases. (UNSTATS)

How to publish data ?

Two guides have been prepared for the public services in the Brussels-Capital Region to help them publish open data and use the portal. The first establishes the context and provides a clearer understanding of Open Data in general. Consult the manual, Part I (French, Dutch). The second describes the technical aspects involved in opening up data. Consult the manual, Part II (French, Dutch). An information brochure (FR, NL) gives a brief overview of Open Data in the Brussels-Capital Region.