Open Data Day 2021

What are the two Senate administrations relevant to taxis and the taxi social pilot, Transport and Social Affairs, achieving with open data?

25 August 2021 by Klaus Meier 

All the versions of this article: [Deutsch] [English]


10 years of Open Data:A look into the future - Organised by Projekt Zukunft Berlin

The first Berlin Open Data Day (BODDY) took place ten years ago at the Senate Department for Economics, organised by Senator Harald Wolf. Because open city data was and is of great importance to taxi drivers, I took part at the time and have been following the efforts of Berlin’s politicians to publish administrative data and make it available to everyone ever since. Today I am curious to find out what progress has been made that could be of benefit to all my colleagues at the wheel of Berlin’s taxis.

The organiser’s recommendation:
Feel free to join the livestream:

On the way

This is how Berlin likes to see itself.

This sight doesn’t boost the city’s self-confidence at all.

The event takes place on the top floor of the Stilwerk. State Secretary Christian Rickerts gives the opening speech.


9.00 - 9.20 am: Opening speech: Berlin Open Data - What have we achieved?
Christian Rickerts, State Secretary for Digitalisation in the Senate Department for Economics, Energy and Public Enterprises

Christian Rickerts opens the event by saying: "There are now open data officers in many administrations. He describes the ODIS agency as an important support for the open data officers in the authorities.

According to State Secretary Rickerts, one tangible result of the open data processes is that a visualisation of pavement widths has been implemented in the course of the Covid-19 pandemic. It supports the granting of permits for catering in public spaces.</quote

9.20 - 9.30 a.m.: 10 years of Berlin Open Data: a look back (film)

News and positions

9.30 - 9.50 a.m.: We finally have laws. And now?
The future of Open Data Berlin: Impulses from the community Henriette Litta, Managing Director Open Knowledge Foundation Deutschland e.V

Henriette Litta mentions that the ODF was also founded 10 years ago in 2011. Since then, a topic for geeks has also become one for suits.
According to Ms Litta, there is more and more open data and new great projects. However, there is a lack of meaningful structures, a holistic view and needs analyses. We need to think less in terms of data and more in terms of problems and needs.
There is a lack of human interfaces to involve civil society in OD approaches. A genuine transparency law and enforcement options are still lacking. The Freedom of Information Act is only a first step in this direction.
Open data and open government should be enshrined in law and become standard. The basic authorisation for everyone to use public data and the obligation to provide APIs must be included in an upcoming law.</quote

A look outside the box from Vienna, Brigitte Lutz, Data Governance Coordinator of the City of Vienna

Brigitte Lutz talks about the development of international cooperation in the provision of open data. She advocates the publication of all data under a CC-BY licence. This has been happening in Vienna since 2011, and since 2019 Open by default has been in force in the city’s administrations.
A digital twin of the city of Vienna is to be created. Today, 549 data sets are already being used by 310 apps.
Open data leads to better data quality because incorrect data quickly becomes visible. This changes the mindset in the administrations so that more data is made accessible.</quote

9.50 - 10.05 a.m.: What are high-quality data sets and what potential do they harbour?
Presentation of the BMWi study on High-Value Datasets (Fraunhofer FOKUS) & the project "Kerndatensätzefür Berlin" (ODIS)
Lina Bruns, Fraunhofer FOKUS and Victoria Boeck, Technology Foundation Berlin - ODIS

Lina Bruns talks very technically about the definition and identification of so-called high-value datasets. Her definition is that high-value datasets are those with high potential. It’s about political decisions at Brussels level, which Fraunhofer is working towards.</quote

Victoria Boeck deals with "core datasets" for Berlin. These are data that are necessary for the functioning of a democratic society. There are concepts and publications on this but no comprehensive strategy or data access that we can work with.</quote

10.10 - 11.00: Open Data during and after the Corona pandemic: Success stories,
Challenges and lessons learned Panel discussion
Priv.-Doz. Dr Linus Grabenhenrich, MPH, Robert Koch Institute, Brigitte Lutz, Data Governance Coordinator of the City of Vienna, Thomas Tursics, Code for Germany, Helena Wittlich, Editor Tagesspiegel Innovations Lab
Moderated by: Sebastian Askar, Senate Department for Economics, Energy and Public Enterprises and Victoria Boeck, Technology Foundation Berlin - ODIS

Linus Grabenhenrich reports that he started preparing and publishing data at the RKI at the beginning of the Covid epidemic with 1.5 positions and that around 30 people at the RKI are now working on this. In his view, one positive aspect of the pandemic is that terms such as incidence have become common knowledge and a strong public awareness of data quality has developed.</quote

Thomas Tursics had to reorganise his civil society initiative because his volunteers were unable to meet due to the pandemic. For him, the biggest problem in the administrations are Excel files spread across various computers. There is generally not enough time to tackle all the necessary tasks, with data research being the biggest time waster due to the confusing localisation of data.</quote

Brigitte Lutz reports on a data hype caused by Covid in Vienna and throughout Austria, which was then thwarted by federal state peculiarities and the refusal to cooperate by private data holders such as privately owned hospitals.

Up to this point, the event can be described as follows: Old acquaintances tell their regular audience what they already know in principle: On the one hand, the use and provision of open data is increasing. Open data is slowly gaining acceptance in the authorities. Problems and resistance to open data remain in the authorities and must be tackled anew on a regular basis.

Public authority projects

11.30 - 12.00: Presentation of new data platforms from the administration
The new mobility data platform of the Senate Department for the Environment, Transport and Climate Protection
Robert Budras-Krüger, Senate Department for the Environment, Transport and Climate Protection

Robert Budras-Krüger starts by talking about administrative structures and their consequences for the data set. His organisation has succeeded in publishing the traffic detector data via a FROST data server. There is now a real-time display that is being expanded.</quote

From the GSI portal to the new social data platform David Kraft, Senate Department for Integration, Labour and Social Affairs

link to the current GSI system

David Kraft on the Social Info System in development. There is an Open Data legal regulation. For the foreseeable future, the evaluation of social data from e.g. social welfare offices / job centres will continue to be carried out via export and human intermediate processing. The social administration and its numerous sub-authorities are still a long way from standardised data models and transfer protocols.
A lot of work is being invested in legally compliant data record descriptions. It favours open source in order to be transparent and efficient.
In reality, the most common interface for importing and exporting data still consists of Excel lists that are sent by e-mail.
David Kraft also mentions the various internal resistance to open data that still exists within the authorities.</quote

Link to the prototype of the social information system

Lighthouse projects

12.00 - 13.00: Lighthouse projects from the Berlin open data ecosystem
1st EnergyHackday: Shaping the energy transition in the city with dataMarcus Schumacher, Project Manager Stromnetz Berlin GmbH and Dr Sandra Maeding, Programme Manager Digitalisation in Assets, Stromnetz Berlin GmbH

Dr Sandra Maeding explains that the energy transition cannot work without data. She believes that open data is the best way to ensure quality and availability. The central project for you is called WindNode. Stromnetz Berlin makes its data sets available on The use of the data is promoted with hackathons, the EnergyHacks for developing ideas. These are not control systems for the electricity grid, but educational and end-user projects.</quote

2nd WaterHackathon: Mastering the challenges of the water ecosystem in Berlin with open data, Margaux Huth, Technische Universität Berlin & Einstein Center Digital Future

Siling Chen will speak instead of Margaux Huth about urban challenges, i.e. sealing, flooding during heavy rainfall and insights that can be gained through open data.
They organised an open data hackathon. They developed pedagogical and control approaches. Here is a photo of a presentation slide.</quote

3. environmental data from the FIS Broker made accessible: the new environmental atlas Manuel Döllefeld, Senate Department for Urban Development and Housing

Manuel Döllefeld describes his service as one that also offers long time series from the past. Interpretation assistance is provided to enable non-experts to participate in urban development.
The environmental atlas on realises this. Interesting comment: In his experience, open data reduces contact with users. This is a problem for quality assessment and further development of content.</quote

4. constituency editor: using open data to tailor constituencies more easily
Evelyne Brie and Lisa Stubert, Technology Foundation Berlin - ODIS

The constituency editor is designed to automate necessary constituency adjustments. The danger of Gerrymandering is not addressed by the speaker.

13.00 - 13.10: Closing remarks "10 years of Berlin Open Data"
Sebastian Askar, Central Open Data Officer of the State of Berlin


The event was interesting, but unfortunately without any groundbreaking news. I learnt a lot about what is available on municipal research and data platforms. Before this becomes useful for the work of a taxi driver or taxi social pilot, a lot more thought and extensive programming is required. Ultimately, the benefit of the event lies in having gained an insight into the workshop of many committed and highly qualified employees of public administrations and consulting companies.

The important changes, for example at the taxi supervisory authority LABO, were not mentioned. Likewise, not a word was said about the upcoming negotiations with Uber, AirBnB and other platforms on the release of their data. Open data must not remain a one-way street, because the "oil of the 21st century" should benefit the general public first. For us coach drivers, access to all mobility and event data would make it conceivable to set up a taxi platform that would free us from the clutches of the monopolists. There is still a long way to go. Our interests have not yet found their way into the practice of the authorities.

You can listen to the whole event on YouTube


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