Open data

Governments create and look after data that helps deliver services to the public. In Northern Ireland, the government wants to make more of it available as ‘open data’. Open data is published in an open format, is machine-readable and is published under a licence that allows for free reuse.

OpenDataNI portal

You can access the opendatani portal to find data from government departments and other public sector organisations in Northern Ireland. Data is available in datasets across a range of themes, like:

  • health
  • education
  • economy, industry and employment
  • transport
  • finance
  • tourism, leisure, culture and arts
  • property and land
  • environment and agriculture
  • population and society

Access the OpenDataNI portal

You can use the data in all sorts of ways. This may be simply to look at trends over time from one policy area, or to compare how different parts of the NI public sector go about their work.

All data published on the opendatani portal falls under the Open Government Licence (OGL). The OGL allows anyone to copy, publish, distribute, send and adapt the licensed work, and to exploit it both commercially and non-commercially for free. In return, the re-user of the licensed work has to credit the source of the work and (if possible) provide a link to the OGL. 

Working with open data

There are lots of different terms and technical words about the use of open data and they can be quite overwhelming. You can find useful information about open data on the EU Open Data Portal.

Open data and government

An Open Data Strategy for Northern Ireland has been created to help make government data freely available to everyone, for use without any restrictions. It aims to transform current data management practices and create an ‘open by default’ culture within the Northern Ireland public sector.

Examples of government open data in use

The Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery (SCTS) has used open data about heart surgery carried out in the United Kingdom (UK) to create an app to help doctors, patients and researchers alike, to filter and analyse surgery data. In 2013, it was estimated that open data released about heart surgery helped to reduce the number of deaths during surgery by up to 1,000 people annually.

Hundreds of thousands of bicycles are stolen in the UK every year. The ‘Check That Bike’ website uses open data from national registers, police crime data and insurance records to help people buying second hand bicycles make sure the bicycles they are buying were not stolen.

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