Across the EU, public sector bodies are estimated to be sitting on a potential treasure trove of data, worth up to €27 billion*. Through a unique initiative between Dublin’s Local Authorities and Maynooth University, businesses, technologists, app developers, researchers and entrepreneurs are invited to join Dublinked – a membership network to mine, exploit and utilise public data to generate new revenue streams and address regional challenges.   

Dublinked, the new regional data sharing initiative sees previously unreleased public operational data being made available online for others to research or reuse. With the initial data coming from Dublin City Council and Dun Laoghaire Rathdown, South Dublin and Fingal County Councils, it is expected that other public and private organisations in Dublin will link up with Dublinked to share their data and invite research collaborations.

The information is curated by Maynooth University to ensure ideas can be commercialised as easily as possible and to minimise legal or technical barriers that can be impediments for small and medium businesses (SMEs) seeking to develop and prove business ideas.

The initial release of data consists of over 100 environmental, traffic and planning datasets including:

  • Planning application data from across the region
  • Water flow, rainfall and energy monitoring
  • Air, water pollution and noise maps for the Dublin region
  • A wide array of usable mapping from development plans, river catchment and drainage
  • Parking, residential and disabled parking as well as detailed traffic volumes

John Tierney, Dublin City Manager on behalf of the Dublin local authorities said “Dublin like all cities is complex to plan, manage and service.  Dublinked gives others the chance to see the complex planning and operational data that contribute to resource planning and operational decisions that Council staff make every day”.

Speaking at a seminar to over 120 Dublin businesses Dublinked Co-ordinator, Dr Ronan Farrell of Maynooth University said businesses and entrepreneurs would use this data to develop innovative and interesting business ideas which would drive job growth while also enhancing city living. “We have seen fantastic examples in other cities of new user interfaces for public transport information, the property market or healthcare data. One of the unique benefits of Open Data is that applications developed here can easily be adapted for other cities around the world and we look forward to working with our Dublinked partners to develop new businesses from Dublin”, he said.

Dublinked is unique in providing both open data and an additional membership zone.  Members can access additional datasets in the research zone and participate in regular member events. Fees vary and are based on company size. 

To enable the start up phase of this project IBM Research has offered a technology platform using open data collaboration technologies and research tools. “IBM Research is delighted to be providing our open innovation platform to "Dublinked" and to be part of making city data available to the wider research community, not only to drive innovation, but to drive collaborative and rigorous research" said Dr Lisa Amini, Director, IBM Smarter Cities Technology Centre.