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Urban data platforms build the basis for a multitude of applications in a Smart City. An urban data platform intends to map, store and integrate data from different stakeholders of the Smart City ecosystem (public entities, businesses, citizens and organisations). The data can be offered to other service providers, can be analysed or visualised and published. Such an urban data platform can be the basis for a lot of smart city solutions as it offers a secure, stable and flexible base for data-driven solutions. An urban data platform can constitute a holistic system, connecting various services around a city by bringing all data together. A multisided-market approach can support smart and medium enterprises (SMEs) as data is available without any high initial investments, include public services and citizens. The main concern when it comes to urban data platforms is data security and transparency, which places special focus on the responsibility and the reliability of the operator of the platform. A broadly accepted approach is, therefore, the operation by a municipal organisation. 


The main goal of the Urban Data Platform is to improve the quality of life within a city enabled by the useage of data. Besides that, the solution achieves the benefits listed below. Whereas some benefits are likely to be fulfiled with a basic implementation of the solution, the fulfilment of the potential benefits depends on the functions implemented in a specific project.

Main Benefits
  • Improved data accessibility

  • Increased data transparency

  • Facilitating citizen engagement

  • Encouraging digital entrepreneurship


Functions help you to understand what the products can do for you and which ones will help you achieve your goals.
Each solution has at least one mandatory function, which is needed to achieve the basic purpose of the solution, and several additional functions, which are features that can be added to provide additional benefits.

Mandatory Functions
    compiling data

    Products collecting and compiling various datasets

    storing data

    Products that allow the operator of the platform to store data, for example, a cloud

    enriching and refining data

    Products that increase the quality and processibility of the data collected

Potential Functions
    visualising data

    Products that visualize the datasets appropriate for various user groups

    providing processing capabilities

    Products offering necessary capabilities to process the data

    supporting SMEs

    Products that support the founding of new enterprises by providing access to data

    supporting data transactions

    Products that enable and ease the transaction of data

    analysing data

    Products analysing the compiled data

Products offering these functions

City data platform and community app

The tool for cities and communities allows to monitor, analyze and predict data and processes to connect city administration with citizens.

Business Model

Implementation Facts

Average Implementation Time: 1-2 years 

Initial Investment Amount: around 100,000 €

Market Overview

Open data platforms overall increase the availability of data. This can include datasets at public institutions which were created using tax money or datasets at companies. Due to the increased access to data, companies strive to provide better services. (Fraunhofer FOKUS, 2017) The market for open data platforms is steadily growing in the last years. Between 2016 and 2020, the EU expects the market size to increase by 36.9%, to a value of 75.7 billion EUR in 2020. A differentiated graph of the growth is shown in the following graphic. A distinction can be made between the direct market size and the indirect market size. (European Comission, 2015)


The forecasted number of direct open data jobs in 2016 is 75,000 jobs. From 2016 to 2020, almost 25,000 extra direct open data jobs will be created. The forecasted public sector cost savings for the EU28+ in 2020 are 1.7 billion EUR. (European Comission, 2015)


Marketable Outcomes

Urban data platforms collect data for example on citizens, public space, local companies and environmental circumstances. The data is processed and saved in an urban data platform, commonly operated by the city or another neutral entity. The city uses the data itself and offers the data to other companies and service providers. The city as well as the companies and service providers the offer services to the citizens. The following graphic shows the connections of the different stakeholders of the system, including data streams and services offered. 

An urban data platform can either be operated as an open data platform, publishing all the collected data or as a more sophisticated system. A more differentiated urban data platform can provide an architecture to store, process and analyze data of different levels of openness and with different requirements around data protection, security and privacy. Sophisticated urban platforms have complex layers of authorization in order to grant access to different type of data based on user authentication.

- Open data platforms can lead to structural changes in cities. According to a McKinsey analysis, this changes can lead to $3 to $5 trillion annual value in seven different domains. The savings are displayed in the following graphic. (McKinsey, 2013)

Besides financial benefits, open data platforms can help reduce up to 3 billion tons of carbon emissions from buildings on a global scale. Open data platforms can help commuters save around 35 hours a year due to schedule changes. Open data platforms also ease the development of smartphone apps, especially in the medical, health and fitness sector, and increase the consumer share of potential value.  (McKinsey, 2013)

- Sophisticated urban data platforms can offer operator more than these savings as the generate direct income streams by selling access to some of the datasets. The datasets are mainly interesting for local companies and service providers. They pay for data usage plans, the provisioning of processing capabilities against payment and the accelerated service development by external people indirectly benefiting the companies that disclosed anonymised data. The better service implies more usage leading to higher tax revenue. (Fraunhofer FOKUS, 2017)

Key Components

To implement the infrastructure for an urban data platform as a basis for other smart city solutions, six key components are needed: 

  1. One single platform to ensure all data connections can be monitored with controlled access to data
  2. High security standards and tools applied to cybersecurity, data access and applications that use data
  3. Data science skills and tools to minimize any risks of joining up data
  4. Active consent for the use of personal data from individuals
  5. Data analytics in real time and constantly monitored 

(Atos - MyCity a Data-Driven City, 2017)

Driving Factors

Government Initiatives

The European Commission sees high potential in the information generated by the public sector. Currently, this information generates more than € 30 billion per year in economic activity. As this value is expected to grow if the data is publicly available the European Parliament and Council passed the Directive 2003/98/EC on the 17th November 2003, which encourages the re-use of public sector information. (European Comission, 2015)

Besides that, the EU launched an Open Data Portal. This is the European gateway to open data resources. The European Open Data Portal shares, among many other things, the most viewed data sets. For further information have a look at the Portal. (European Comission, 2015)

To increase the overall efficiency of European cities, there are also directives about dataset which need to be published. For example, the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, which dictates the publishing of energy consumption data about many buildings. Urban data Platforms can ease the publishing of such datasets. (McKinsey, 2013)

In the presence of European Commissioner Günther H. Oettinger small and big organisations signed a Memorandum of Understanding towards open and interoperable urban platforms during the General Assembly of the European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities, held in Berlin on 21 May 2015. (EU Comission, 2015)

The EIP SCC initiative on urban Platforms aims to peed the adoption, at scale, of common open urban data platforms, and ensure that 300 million European citizens are served by cities with competent urban data platforms, by 2025. (EU Smartcities, 2017)

Legal Requirements


EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) replaces the Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC and was designed to harmonise data privacy laws across Europe, to protect and empower all EU citizens data privacy and to reshape the way organisations across the region approach data privacy. The key articles of the GDPR, as well as information on its business impact, can be found throughout this site.

After four years of preparation and debate, the GDPR was finally approved by the EU Parliament on 14 April 2016. It will enter into force 20 days after its publication in the EU Official Journal and will be directly applicable in all members states two years after this date. Enforcement date: 25 May 2018 - at which time those organisations in non-compliance will face heavy fines. (GDPR Portal, 2017)


EU Standards

DIN SPEC 91357 - Reference Architecture Model “Open Urban Platform” (OUP)

Use Cases

Eindhoven Open Data Portal

With the goal of making data more accessible and useful, the open data portal of the City of Eindhoven was built. It helps to upload, share, use, analyze and visualize public data sets. The platform is highly user friendly and has very low barrier to use.

Big Data Visualization for Cologne

A Big Data Management Application, called Urban Cockpit has been implemented in the city of Cologne to provide a fast and easy overview of the data stored in the Urban Data Platform. It includes data from traffic management systems , energy providers and other such companies.

Citizen Platform for Urban Air Quality

Breeze Technologies is creating a citizen-driven air quality sensing network in the district Rothenburgsort in Hamburg, Germany.

Smart City Data Platform

To support with real time data integration in Smart Cities, a Smart City Data platform has been developed which enables faster integration of data. The data and governance layer have been separated to provide ownership to the data owners.

Sharing Cities Urban Sharing Platform (USP)

The Sharing Cities Urban Sharing Platform is a logical collection of technical components, capabilities and processes which provide functions and services that enable a Smart City.

Barcelona´s big data integration solution

Barcelona´s big data integration solution aims at developing a semantic model that reflects and connects three domains of interest: mobility, energy, and integrated infrastructures. 

Integrated ticketing and information system for smart mobility

The city of Turku created a new open data interface and platform into which the ticketing system of the public transport system is incorporated.

Open platform for multimodal mobility information and services

This Use Case is to develop an integrated Open Data mobility platform, gathering and providing information from all transport modes, prioritizing the more sustainable ones.

Community information and participation portal

A central internet platform for all citizens, companies and institutions of the project area Domagkpark and Parkstadt Schwabing serves as a communication channel to provide information, service and tips on the subject of mobility in the district.

Open Source Database

The use of database is essential in all modern project management. The essential question is hence whether the data collecting and processing changes in the implementation process are open source or the solution is vendor locked. Smarter Together Vienna chose an open source solution based on FIWARE.

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