EuroSDR Adapting Mapping Agencies’ Business Models to Open Data

To switch to an open data policy may pose a challenge to the business model of National Mapping & Cadastral Agencies (NMCAs), especially if they are required to generate sufficient revenue to cover a substantial part of their operating costs. This research, carried out for EuroSDR, aims to assess the effects of open data policies on the business models of NMCAs and which adaptations have been made to cope with revenue losses due to open data supply. In March and April 2017, we surveyed European NMCAs to find out which strategies NMCAs employ to be able to (re)finance operational costs and to ensure long-term sustainability of (open) data. This report provides the initial outcomes of the survey.

About a third of the National Mapping & Cadastral Agencies (NMCAs) started to supply open data before 2010, indicating  that the INSPIRE Directive has had a distinct influence on a move towards open data. Nearly all NMCAs receive some funding from the central government to cover their operational costs. About half of the NMCAs receive some extra compensation for open data activities. Open data activities are further financed from other forms of revenue, such as the sale of other data products, or by internal efficiencies. Although many of the NMCAs expressed a desire to receive (more) compensation from the central government, it appears that the NMCAs manage to fund their open data activities to date. For a successful open data ecosystem, the key factors appear to be guaranteed funding (to offset the losses in revenue), cooperation between data suppliers and between data supplies and users, and business cases to demonstrate the added value of open data. The latter is necessary to receive additional funding / compensation from the central government in the long(er) term. Since the implementation of open data policies, the role of NMCAs in the information value chain is changing. NMCAs are moving their role as ‘traditional’ data supplier towards data partners /enablers. Although implementation of open data has led to more costs in the short term (more investments in infrastructure and (human) resources), it appears that open data leads to benefits for the organisation in the long run, such as efficiency gains.

The  report is available via 2017_EuroSDR-Pub#67_NMCAs_BusinesModels_OD and

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