Home > Public Domain Data > A One Stop Shop? A Map and List of all open data portals around the world

A One Stop Shop? A Map and List of all open data portals around the world

Data company OpenDataSoft has published a map that claims to be a comprehensive list of all open data portals around the world.  Since we in this blog are focused on being critical of data, I wondered if perhaps this map was too good to be true, so I did some investigating.  First, the map lives up to its claim of being straightforward, and is rich with data–thousands of points exist on it.  The text in the pop-up boxes is truncated, requiring the user to click for more, but other than that, the map is easy to navigate.  OpenDataSoft is concerned with data far beyond geospatial data, so it is understandable that the map sometimes points to sites that are not specific to geospatial information, though sometimes they are. For example, the Bismarck North Dakota points list the office of the state government and their data, and not specifically the North Dakota geospatial data portal, but I have no doubt that I could eventually find the geospatial data portal from the main state portal.  However, the point on the map to the north, in Minot, does point to the Ward County open GIS data portal.  Below the map is a very helpful text listing with links to these portals so that the user is not limited to simply searching on a map, which (counterintuitively to some of us in the GIS industry who naturally go for the map first) sometimes can be the slowest way to search.

The OpenDataSoft staff wrote an article explaining how they put together the map, and the article reveals some very interesting coding work and also much manual labor and therefore, dedication.  They are open to feedback from the user community.  As we have written about in the past, the chief challenge with maps and listings like this has always been – who will maintain it in the future?  The site https://opendatainception.io/ allows data users to add a portal to the map, which gives some indication that the site could be in part, crowdsourced.  If so, and if OpenDataSoft is committed to maintaining this resource, it could indeed become a very valued resource for the GIS community.  A map-based way of finding portals makes perfect sense, particularly for the geo-data user.   Whether the map contains your favorite data portal is not as important as what this map represents–the fruits of the open data movement.  I applaud the efforts of OpenDataSoft and encourage them to keep this resource updated.


Map from OpenDataSoft of “all the open data sites around the world.”

Categories: Public Domain Data
  1. Bernie Connors
    October 27, 2017 at 12:25 pm

    This data is not very clean and the map interface has several usability issues.

  2. josephkerski
    October 27, 2017 at 2:26 pm

    Thanks for weighing in on this, Bernie. That is exactly what I was hoping people would do after I wrote the essay. Hopefully they will continue to make improvements to it.

    –Joseph Kerski

  3. Bernie Connors
    October 27, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    I sent some more detailed comments directly to OpenDataSoft. Their feedback form gives me the impression they don’t intend to do any data cleaning unless somebody sends feedback identifying errors. The drop down list in their feedback form includes:
    * portal description is incorrect
    * portal has an incorrect location
    * link doesn’t lead to an open data portal
    * Link is broken
    * portal is a dummy portal / portal has no data

    So they appear to be aware that their data has many issues but they want the community to identify the problems.

  4. josephkerski
    October 27, 2017 at 2:43 pm

    Thanks Bernie.

    We’ve written about crowdsourcing quite a bit on this blog, too. Crowdsourcing for a data source list – that is a challenge in maintaining the data quality – and maybe even more importantly – who has time to do this? That is in part why I think the well intentioned “GIS list of resources” have languished because after awhile, the creator of the list gets tired of maintaining it, and/or moves to a different job, etc. But you’ve done what you can in sending your concerns to them and that is noble and appreciated!

    –Joseph K

  1. October 25, 2017 at 9:25 am

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