Citing Neelie Kroes, VP of the European Commission “In a networked age, we all depend on data, and opening it up is the best way to realise its value, to maximize its potential”, Myriam Couloun-Cantuer, EC DG CONNECT Smart Cities and Sustainability, opened the first FOT-Net Data workshop in Amsterdam on 19 March 2014.  According to Myriam Couloun-Canteur, open data and re-use guarantee the best value for public money, ensure accountancy and transparency of co-finance, and lead to informed policy decisions. The EC reemphasizes its support for open research data in Horizon 2020 where “open” public documents will become the default.

The workshop focused on the benefits of re-using data from other FOTs, the need to remove obstacles for opening a database to other researchers and to make data sharing profitable for both data owners and future data users.

FOT-Net Data is a 3-year support action that will develop a data sharing framework, a framework to describe available datasets, recommendations for data protection, strategies to facilitate data sharing and awareness about the value of data sharing. It will also continue building the FOT community, revise and promote the FESTA methodology for FOTs and data sharing, and foster international cooperation. It is the follow-up project to FOT-Net 1 and 2.

Associated Partners to the project ranging from public authorities, information brokers to research organisations, explained their expectations: through networking opportunities they will be able to share competences and results and potentially develop joint activities and projects. The benefits of data sharing relate to the improved source for research and decision making; the obstacles of data sharing primarily point to the legal ownership and data quality.

Demonstrating how data is shared and re-used in the US, Dale Thompson, representing the US Department of Transportation / ITS Joint Program Office, presented the Research Data Exchange (RDE) and Safety Pilot Model Deployment Data (SPMD). The RDE provides the ability for users to download data and appropriate documentation, create research projects and collaborate with others users, and comment on data sets. It employs the concept of a Data Environment to structure the various data sets. Dale Thompson explained some challenges faced in making the SPMD data public available and that connected vehicle data is subject to “big data” opportunities and challenges.

Data-owners testified on how for example they can share data with research partners and the challenges this sharing may entail regarding copy rights, personal integrity laws, sharing agreements and storage of data. Research institutions explained that FOT data cover all kinds of realities and that not all datasets are equal. Some may be too specialized to use. The FOT-Net Data project will develop a data sharing framework. It will develop procedures and templates to enable data to be re-used, create a frame for description of FOT data types and meta data and identify minimum data set to be collected and develop recommendations for data protection depending on data type. Topics that will be covered will include data sharing in project documents, data and meta data descriptions to create valid data, data protection, education on data protection, support and research services, financial models for post-project funding and application procedures.

The project will look into data and tools for data sharing. It will collect FOT data tools for data enrichment phases and data analysis, tools used in certain FOTs and it will build on tool collection from the FOT-Net wiki. The findings will result in FESTA updates e.g. regarding common post-processing steps, types of data aggregation and data exchange formats.


For more information on the project:

Project Coordinator
Dr. Sami Koshinen, VTT

Yvonne Barnard
Project Manager, ERTICO

Communication & Press


Maria De Rycke
Communication Manager, ERTICO