Building the Aragón Open Data website with CKAN
We are very proud that the Spanish region of Aragón finally has its own open data website: Aragón Open Data was launched in February, using CKAN. At the Government of Aragón ICT department, we are really concerned with the value of data and information. This CKAN-powered website is our first step to providing citizens with easier access to data. For the launch, we published more than 230 datasets rated with 2, 3 and 4 Tim Berners-Lee stars.
Why choose CKAN?
When we made the decision to publish the region’s open data in a single place, we wanted a ‘CMS for data’, and we took a look at the different options. CKAN was the best solution for our needs for several reasons, but a few stand out.
Firstly, the API. For the Aragón Open Data team, it is important to make it easy for developers to access data. This problem is solved with CKAN´s API. The API lets you get a reliable ID of a dataset, and use it to query for the current version of the dataset. This allows developers to have a unique object to download and also know when the dataset has changed. For developing apps based on the data, this is a perfect way to ensure you always have the latest data.
Secondly, the CKAN back-end. It has been developed as a kind of CMS specialised for data, and the data management tools that CKAN provides are really useful to get your metadata ‘tidy’. It is easy to modify the different attributes of a dataset and to add new extra fields to improve the description of your datasets.
To give structured formats to advanced users that want to develop applications, we wanted a metadata file for each dataset: a file expressing all the metadata in RDF format using the DCAT vocabulary. CKAN helped as it has built-in RDF output, though there is no link to this by default. To make it more prominent, we were easily able to write a CKAN extension which put a link on each dataset page to the RDF metadata.
Finally, having made the decision to use CKAN, it was easy and intuitive to install using the published documentation and to develop the website using it. We are now working on extending the website using more of the posibilities that CKAN provides.
Open data, open spending
To reinforce our commitment to open data, we have also developed an open spending application: presupuesto.aragon.es. Through this app it is possible to ‘follow the money’ from citizens’ taxes through to public expenditure. You can also see in what policy area money has been spent during the last 8 years. You can calculate, depending on your earnings, how much of your money goes to each policy area. Finally there is a brief glossary of spending terms to help users better understand the budget’s vocabulary.
We hope you find useful data in the Government of Aragón’s data catalogue, and we will be very happy if you develop any data-based applications with it. Enjoy Aragón Open Data!