April of this year marks a significant milestone in Taiwan’s development of open data, celebrating the 10th anniversary of the “Government Open Data Platform.” Today, the platform has opened access to more than 55,000 datasets, boasting over 110 million views and 19 million downloads.

Over the years, numerous creative applications that address social issues have emerged from the foundation of open data. For example, innovative ideas, such as an irrigation system that combines rainwater warnings and a smart system designed to help farmers and fishermen cultivate clams, have been proposed by contestants in data application competitions in recent years.

The key to the success of these ideas lies in the continuous release of various types of high impact data by government agencies.

In the past, high impact data with significant public value, such as meteorological observations and disaster relief resources, often faced legal and computational constraints, preventing their easy release. Over the past decade, the government has persevered in overcoming these challenges to provide data for public use.

For instance, the Central Weather Bureau’s “Meteorological Resources Innovation Application Plan,” announced in 2022, opened up access to high-precision meteorological data and resources for legal entities and businesses. This not only improves the accuracy of weather forecasts but also enables the development of targeted meteorological and ocean current analyses for industries like fisheries and shipping.

This case study demonstrates the potential for high-value application data to connect different industries and professions. After soliciting opinions from various ministries and the public, the Digital Ministry has established a “High Application Value Thematic Area” on the Government Open Data Platform.

Departing from the previous classification based on industry or agency, we now categorize data based on “themes” according to social value and content. Initially, six data sets were classified: climate and environment, disaster prevention and rescue, transportation, health and medical care, energy management, and social assistance. Theme-based planning not only aids in data search but also reveals the connections between different data sets, stimulating further collaboration.

For example, the “climate and environment” dataset can contribute to the net-zero transition. The goal of “net-zero” is to minimize human-induced greenhouse gas emissions while offsetting them through negative emissions technologies and forest carbon sinks. In line with the 2021 United Nations Glasgow Climate Agreement, Taiwan proposed a “2050 Net-Zero Emissions Pathway” in March last year and officially implemented the “Climate Change Response Act” this year.

The theme of this year’s Presidential Hackathon International Track, “#FreeTheFuture: Open, Digital & Green,” combines democratic communication, data application, and net-zero carbon emissions, presenting an excellent opportunity for interdisciplinary data sharing and use.

Earth’s natural resources, often depleted due to human over-exploitation, are considered competitive assets, leaving less for future generations. In contrast, open data serves as an “anti-rival good,” where sharing increases its value and contributes to both individuals and the world.

The Digital Ministry will continue to promote the opening and application of data for public good, assisting in the sustainable use of scarce global resources, and welcoming more friends to join our ranks.