Air quality data – a pioneer in the municipal open data movement

Open data and data sovereignty are key terms when municipalities think about digitalisation or Smart City.

Air quality data takes a pioneering position here for several reasons: Air quality as information is becoming increasingly important. EU and federal laws stipulate which data must be collected and published. Transparency laws, which have already been introduced in some German states, also apply to air quality.

The challenge in using this data in a municipal – i.e., city-related – context lies primarily in the data formats provided (PDF, HTML, interactive maps, APIs), the level of aggregation and, closely related to this, the cross-departmental provision.

The DIN SPEC 91357 – Reference Architecture Model Open Urban Platform (OUP) creates a framework for conforming technical components from different manufacturers. This enables efficient exchange and uncomplicated use of urban data across different infrastructures.

The data collected by municipalities within the Hawa Dawa Sentience measurement network is made available in accordance with this standard. Thus, Hawa Dawa supports 100% the open data approach and enables the municipality to take an essential step towards efficient use of resources: Data can therefore be reused or made available in an existing system. It also creates interfaces through which data can be exchanged.

A good example is the Open Data Portal of the city of Ulm: Data from different sources is standardised and then offered in various other systems as needed. In this portal, Hawa Dawa’s data is shared as one dataset, which can be used to make targeted data requests, i.e., filters. In addition, there is a public dashboard that combines all air data and a more detailed dashboard for internal use within the municipality with other data and analysis.