Sustainable Open Data Business Models for NMCAs

18 - 19 September 2017 (Delft, the Netherlands)

The concept of open data is gaining momentum as open data are often associated with realizing many government ambitions, such as increased economic value and solving societal problems. However, to implement an open data policy and maintain high quality data in a sustainable manner may pose a challenge to the traditional business models of National Mapping & Cadastral Agencies (NMCAs). Especially self-funding NMCAs have to find a balance between generating sufficient revenue to cover a substantial part of their operating costs and at the same time comply to open data principles. The traditional business models of NMCAs are based on generating revenue from licence fees for their datasets, which contain authoritative and authentic data used as register data. A shift from supplying licenced data to open data not only means a loss of revenue in the short term but also a loss of control over the reuse of the data and customer contact. A decrease in revenue may pose a risk to data quality or to the level of services.

On the other hand, open data may also offer direct benefits to NMCAs, for example, more feedback on data quality by citizens and companies, or more efficient use of resources. However, it is by no means a certainty that the much-lauded indirect benefits of open data will outweigh the direct costs the NMCAs incur to supply open data according to the open data principles. To be able to adapt their business model, will require NMCAs to think out of the box. EuroSDR, in cooperation with Eurogeographics, commenced a research to assess the effects of open data policies on the business model of NMCAs. This includes the way NMCAs are able to (re)finance their operational costs and to ensure long-term sustainability of their (open) data.

This workshop will bring together the NMCAs to present and share their experiences of open data and discuss the research results with representatives of academia. Issues that will discussed will be:

  • What were the outcomes of the online survey of April 2017?
  • Which funding models can be utilised by NMCAs and how sustainable are these?
  • What have the effects of open data been on the operational costs of the NMCA?
  • Which options do NMCAs have to their disposal to refinance their operational costs?
  • Is the supply of open data living up to expectations?
  • What are the non-financial challenges to implementing open data?
  • Is there a future for a pan-European open data infrastructure?


When: 18 - 19 September 2017

Where: Berlage Rooms, Faculty of Architecture & the Built Environment, Delft   University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands


Tentative programme:


          Monday 18-09


           Tuesday 19-09




Welcome back and recap of Day 1


Registration & coffee


Bastiaan van Loenen & Joep Crompvoets: Addressing the challenges for open NMCA data: from local to national and pan-European NMCA open data (pdf)


Welcome by the Dean (pdf)



Keynote speech (pdf)



Coffee break


Coffee break


Bastiaan van Loenen: Sustainable open data business models theory (pdf)


Roundup of the Workshop and guidance for strategies for open data policies: the way forward


Frederika Welle Donker: Questionnaire EuroSDR: the results (pdf)








Breakout session I: Sustainable open data in the long run




Breakout session II: From cost recovery to an open data strategy




Coffee break




Plenary feedback by session reporters




Breakout session III: Is open data living up to expectations?




Breakout session IV: Internal effects of open data – financial and non-financial challenges




Plenary feedback by session reporters




Closing of Day 1