The JValue Project

Open data, easy and social

Surprising Uses of Open Data

Open data is not just a tool for researchers and policymakers; it has many surprising applications that affect our daily lives in ways we might not even realize. This section explores some intriguing and unexpected uses of open data, showcasing its versatility and far-reaching impact.

Surprising Benefits and Applications

Enhancing Navigation Services: Google Maps and Open Data

Google Maps provides its services using open government data. In many countries, including France, it integrates detailed geographic information, public transportation schedules, and real-time traffic updates from government-released data. This integration improves navigation and travel planning for millions of users, making commutes more efficient and helping travellers easily reach their destinations.

Impact: Open data integration has transformed navigation services, enhancing user experience by providing accurate and up-to-date travel information.

Improving Public Transportation: Mandatory Open Data for Transport Agencies in France

In France, transport agencies are required by law to publish open data. Platforms like Transport Data Gouv collect and disseminate this data, which includes real-time availability of services from companies like Lime. This transparency enhances public transportation services by providing accurate, real-time data to users, enabling better route planning and improving overall efficiency.

Impact: The mandatory release of transport data has led to more efficient public transportation systems, with improved user satisfaction and operational performance.

Urban Planning and Development: Transport for London (TfL)

Transport for London (TfL) uses open data to enhance urban mobility. By sharing data on bus locations, arrival times, and tube schedules, TfL has enabled the development of numerous apps that help Londoners navigate the city more efficiently. This open data initiative has improved public transport usage and reduced congestion, making urban travel more convenient.

Impact: The use of open data by TfL has significantly enhanced urban planning and development, leading to better public transport services and reduced traffic congestion.

Environmental Monitoring: City of Los Angeles

Los Angeles uses open data to monitor the environmental impact of electric scooters. By analyzing ride patterns and frequency, the city assesses how scooters reduce car usage and emissions. This data-driven approach supports sustainable urban mobility initiatives and helps plan greener urban environments.

Impact: Open data has enabled Los Angeles to effectively monitor and manage environmental impacts, promoting sustainable urban mobility.

Accessibility Improvements: Wheelmap

Wheelmap is a crowd-sourced open data project that maps wheelchair-accessible places worldwide. By integrating open data on public transport and city infrastructure, Wheelmap helps users with mobility impairments navigate urban areas more easily. This initiative improves accessibility and independence for individuals with disabilities, fostering inclusive urban environments.

Impact: Wheelmap’s use of open data has greatly improved accessibility for individuals with disabilities, promoting inclusivity in urban planning.

Tourism and Cultural Promotion: VisitScotland

VisitScotland uses open data to provide tourists with real-time information on transportation, attractions, and events. By integrating open data from various sources, the platform enhances the tourist experience and promotes Scotland’s cultural heritage. This use of open data boosts tourism, supports local businesses, and enriches the cultural experience for visitors.

Impact: The integration of open data by VisitScotland has enhanced tourism, supporting economic growth and cultural promotion.


The surprising uses of open data highlight its transformative potential across various sectors. From improving daily commutes with Google Maps to mandating data transparency for transport agencies in France, open data is reshaping how we interact with the world. These examples underscore open data’s importance and inspire new ways to leverage this valuable resource.

By integrating these insights into the JValue hub, users can explore many open data applications and discover innovative solutions to real-world problems.

There is so much more!


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