2018: a year in review

A collection of highlights from the past year, followed by a short summary.


@StatSchweiz pushes to 6000 datasets!

Renewed strategy 2021-2024

Data inventory

Linked Data (LINDAS) project is launched

Reports from the BAR keynote at

OGD Basel hits their stride

Canton of St. Gallen intensifies OGD strategy

The City of Bern joins the OGD parade

While also (after a long battle) embracing open source

Canton of Zug joins the portal

Canton of Graubunden

Canton of Thurgau

After a successful #GLAMhack2017
National Museum, host of OpenGLAM 2018

OpenGLAM joins the portal, bringing the community and government data together

The political information system of the Swiss public radio and television released in time for SRG Hack
A project which has been garnering impressive awards

Uni Bern students visualize OGD


Publishing not-Open Data on an Open Data portal?

Report on open data for innovative business from EPFL supports open data

Food Hackdays in Basel

Food Hackdays in Lausanne

TV report about MeatStory, an Open Food Data hack

Tourism Hackdays

Popular first names tool developed by Statistics office now hosted by our association

OpenGLAM hackathon in Lausanne

Supporting the Wikidata workshop for HackZurich

Florian Wieser shares insights on open data in Latin America

While kindly takes over running our throttled Transport API

Impressions from

Open Data Day 2018 Bern

Open Data Day 2017 Zurich


Open Data for Smart Cities

Open Data Beer Switzerland launches

@PersonalDataIO a Geneva startup with roots in Open Knowledge at re:publica 2018

ö guest lectures at Uni Bern

Digitally Sustainable political candidates is crushin’ it! (2017 update?) celebrates its first birthday
we can haz GTFS-RT

DataJamDays in Lausanne

Swisscom launches a data portal

Which gets prompt usage

As does the Swiss Post

ETH library report on Open Data

The hitchhiker’s guide to Swiss Open Government Data by @jonasoesch

Student run open data workshop for Sustainability Week

Legal Tech Hackathon in Zürich

Swiss data journos picking up on community methods

Learning best practices from each other

Swiss people building awesome things

Swiss data being…weird, apparently (scroll down)

All shiny things SPARQL

We love mappy hacks

Especially when the maps are SPARQLy

Games are great fun

The best are console hacks, though

Open Science summer school brings open data to EPFL campus

While the Uni Bern launches their showroom

The future of Open Data [catalogs]: interop

The future of digital Switzerland is open data

Who knows what’s next?


In war, then, let your great object be victory, not lengthy campaigns. Thus it may be known that the leader of armies is the arbiter of the people’s fate, the [person] on whom it depends whether the nation shall be in peace or in peril.
Sun Tzu - The Art of War 5

Cross-posted from the Open Knowledge Switzerland English-language blog.

Open Data is a powerful idea that aims to involve more people directly in the production, evaluation, and application of key resources for a digital society. This has direct reprecussions for the way governance is applied in the 21st century, transforming democracies around the world – in the best case, supporting more diversely participative, directly engaged, transparent interactions between the public and its institutions. Over the past five years, I have served the Board of the association, representing Swiss interests in this area locally, nationally, and abroad. This post summarizes highlights from the past year of open data activism in Switzerland.

In Switzerland, Open Data is advocated by the Digital Sustainability (Digitale Nachhaltigkeit) parliamentary group, formed in 2009 and behind numerous initiatives in cantons and cities, as well as the precedents and directives that led to the government project at the federal level. Diverse related grassroots initiatives and associations support focal points such as reforming data access in the culture commons (OpenGLAM, Digitale Allmend), political monitoring (LobbyWatch), open maps ( or networks (ONIA)., founded in 2012, acts as incubator, umbrella and partner to open data projects in Switzerland, and is the local chapter of the international Open Knowledge network, hosting OKCon in Geneva in 2013, monitoring the country’s government data in the Global Open Data Index, as well as supporting a variety local projects from monitoring the landscape to promoting data literacy based on international standards. The association partners with a series of government initiatives, where many members participate in committees or work directly on projects.

Since 2016 this has centered on the portal, grouping top categories of digital interest with key infrastructure for sustainable publication – and the Open Transport Data portal, featuring mobility data that has from the start concerned and motivated the community. The government geodata portal continues to be the focus of technical interest and innovation, and recently all three portals have joined the LINDAS project to connect key government data on the Semantic Web.

In the past two years, open data has become more established in the media and is starting to get mentioned in job descriptions in government, while science and industry catch up. Academic exchange has intensified with regular events on campus, such as the Open Food Data Hackdays at the EPFL/ZhdK, the OpenGLAM Hackdays at the University of Basel, courses in OGD at the University of Bern, and workshops at educational and research instutitions around the country. Publications such as those from the ETH Library or EPFL have demonstrated research interest and potential for broad collaboration within the open data community, which should be stimulated by further events and a new Student Award.

Image credit: - CC BY 3.0 - Ernie Deane

Awareness of the potential of open data to generate new business and improve relations and partnerships around data has surely helped motivate the launch of open data portals from Swisscom and the Swiss Post, cooperation projects with Engagement Migros and department for Economic Development, commercial support for the Transport API, and acknowledgement from economiesuisse. The association’s members are working hard to translate these seedlings into jobs, accelerating start-ups, and supporting the Swiss Data Alliance.

At the Open Knowledge Summit at the beginning of May 2018, the activities of were summarized in seven words: active on many fronts, including organizational revision. The acclaimed organization today counts 370 members and thousands of followers. For the past six months we have conducted a review of our mandate, vision and operations with a task force whose recommendations will be key to the future vision of the association. Our sights are aimed at building a community of practice, servicing the needs of our network more efficiently and effectively, and reaffirming our goal to be the best community for open data activists in the country.

At a time open data in Switzerland is enjoying widening interest and debate, these goals are more important than ever. Community projects like the acclaimed tool for choosing baby names have opened doors into the hearts and minds of the population whose interests we serve – academic, government and business partnerships chart the course ahead. Our vision of transparency, innovation and efficiency through openness underpins it all. We can look forward to the annual conference at the beginning of July in St. Gallen, bringing together a diversity of opinions around a fascinating subject, and another great year of community building (cheers!) and activism ahead.