Since 2009, the Open Commons Linz initiative has made available a wide variety of “free” data: geo-data and statistical information having to do with city life, local government, recreation and tourism. An associated effort is the Hotspot initiative that has installed 202 hotspots providing free WLAN, as well as Public Server, the municipal cloud available to all citizens registered in Linz. Linz is thus at the forefront in Europe when it comes to universal access to open data.
What are open commons?
Open commons refers to digital common property that’s freely available to all citizens, who are permitted to use it under certain predefined conditions and without major impediments. The mission of the Open Commons Linz platform is to responsibly provide the general public with access to such digital content—i.e. digitized music, pictures, photographs, videos, data, literature, radio plays and software.
Open commons is a term that’s unique throughout Europe. It encompasses all types and aspects of digital common property. Internationally, this initiative serves as a beacon of hope—above all, the initial phase, Open Government Data, which has gained notereity far beyond Austria’s borders.
Linz Open Data
The core module is the Linz Open Data initiative that coordinates the process of preparing and making available data produced by government agencies, whereby these data can then be reused free of charge. More than 50 applications of these data have already been developed.
Free WLAN is already available at more than 200 locations and in all streetcars throughout the city. This is designed to facilitate participation in the digital domain and mobile working. Expanding availability is now focusing on squares and parks, the public transportation system, community centers, libraries, recreational facilities, swimming pools and other municipal institutions and cultural complexes. Few municipalities in the world provide inhabitants with infrastructure that delivers such comprehensive coverage free of charge. A map and a list of all available hotspots are online at http://hotspot.linz.at.
Public Space Server
To enable citizens of Linz to not only consume content but to create and share it too, the Public Space Server makes 5 GB of Web space available free of charge to all locals—thus, a practical form of cloud-based data storage. This server also provides free access to applications such as a webmail program and a convenient way for users to create their own website.