Istanbul: Open data is a must!


Today, the institutions such as NASA, The United Nations, and the World Bank have opened their data. They have separate departments and also devoted employees working in these departments for this work. Besides the Data Experts and Experts working on open data software development, they have also “Data Stewarts” who are working on metadata and “Data Evangelists” who are responsible for promoting open data and being used. The cities should implement the policies on open data in order to open their data.

Smart applications are being developed by open data nowadays. In order to be a smart city, it requires an access to real-time data and use of data in the right direction. Therefore, City Municipalities began to open data by implementing the open data policies. For instance; Roma City publishes real-time traffic data in the following website ://

Open Data of Amsterdam City:

Open Data of Manchester City:

Open Data of Barcelona City:

Open Data of Helsinki City:

These data are not only open but also useful. In this sense, many application developers have the opportunity to benefit from these data. Thus, innovation is getting easier and fast as well. While open source applications are being developed, it is also possible to take advantage of the different applications developed by different persons. Thus, innovation is realized by collaborative application development.


The cities should implement the open data policies in order to open their data. In fact, the use of open data is stated significantly in the countries’ own public policies. The countries have important plans on open data and big data issues. In order to make them come true, the standards should be implemented and on the other hand the procedures should be generated for the implementation of the standards as well. Turkey is not yet ready for this kind of applications. There are few software development companies or open source code developers working on smart traffic applications for Istanbul. Data are not being shared since there isn’t an open data policy yet. Therefore, the solutions are expected only from the Municipality for Istanbul having lots of problems. In Europe, the competitions called “hackathon” are being organized and the developers develop creative applications by using open data by participating in these events.

There is an interesting application which monitors the movements of public transport of Manchester City in a 24-hours time period from the satellite. A developer, Canadian Andrew Walker, had developed this application. I suggest you to watch it:

In Turkey, the hackathon event is organized for the android software developers by Google Developer Group every year in Ankara. As TAGES we are planning to organize the first hackathon event in Istanbul in the Autumn 2013 within the CitySDK (City Service Development Kit) Project which is funded by EU CIP ICT- PSP (Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme, Information and Communication Technologies-Policy Support Programme). We aim to have innovative and creative traffic applications in Istanbul. In order to achieve this aim, Istanbul Municipality should open their data. Maybe we slowly began to change our minds on open issues with this first step.

In order to make Istanbul a smart city faster by more innovative applications, Open Data is a must!

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