Belgium: Partners from six European countries – Belgium, France, Greece, Latvia, Czech Republic and the United Kingdom gathered will launch Open Transport Net (OTN). OTN is a new European Commission funded project that aims to challenge the monopoly that large commercial vendors such as Google currently enjoy over geographic or geospatial data (GI). “Open Transport Net aims to address these challenges head-on. By specifically focusing on making GI Data more accessible and useable for business innovators and public sector stakeholders alike,” said Geert Mareels, eGovernment Manager for the Flemish Region and OTN Project Coordinator. “OTN will help to unleash public and private sector value in the area of transport by creating collaborative virtual service hubs that aggregate, harmonise and visualise open transport-related data from a wide variety of sources to drive the rapid creation of innovative new applications and services,” added Mareels. The increasing availability of open Geographic Information (GI) data presents a strong opportunity for European Private and Public stakeholders, especially SMEs, to extract extra value from origin-destination data due to the fact that a vast amount of information has direct or indirect spatial references that open up exiting new ways of interpreting it.
OTN hubs will combine spatial (GI), dynamic data streams (sensors and monitoring of mobile objects) and non-spatial data using techniques such as RDF and data analysis based on ontology’s, and derive insights from the data through visualisation tools and pattern detection algorithms. OTN Hubs will help to drive innovation by (a) improving the accuracy of data insights by enhancing knowledge with Volunteered Geographic Information and (b) deploying a sophisticated Access Control and Identity Management system which will manage privacy controls for personal and/or sensitive data. A ‘data usage’ approach to structuring Hub content and services will enable visitors to the platform to be directed to the innovation tools that best suit their needs where they can then play with data mash-ups, share insights with the OTN community, post service needs and create new business applications – all for free. For a small subscription, users will have the opportunity to access more detailed data insights and personalized business mentoring.