Partner profile: Liip, Switzerland

  • Mark Wainwright
  • 20 Apr 2021
The Open Knowledge Foundation's CKAN Professional Partnership Programme means that governments and other users all over the world can get paid support from a certified local provider, and with access to the core development team if necessary. This post is the first of a series on current CKAN partners.
Liip AG is a web development company based in Switzerland, which does large-scale, high-quality projects in a range of areas, including e-commerce, online learning, mobile - and, of course, Open Data. Their first big project as a CKAN Partner is, the federal Open Data portal for Switzerland. The site, which Liip developed together with five government agencies and the Open Government Data consultancy itopia, was officially launched on 16 September at OKCon in Geneva. [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500"][Image:]
Switzerland's new Open Data portal,[/caption]The current site is a pilot, produced for the Federal Archive, and experience from using it will guide the future development of Open Data in Switzerland. It is hoped that it will foster economic growth as well as government transparency and efficiency. A study commissioned by the Federal Archive concluded that open government data in Switzerland had the potential to be worth over a billion Euros a year in economic growth. At present the site has over 1600 datasets, including regional boundaries, demographics, election data, weather data, and more. Much of the data is harvested from a range of government bodies, such as the Federal Statistical Office and the Meteorological Office. To this end Liip wrote a number of custom harvesters to extract the datasets from different existing information systems, using CKAN's harvesting infrastructure. To make the system easily and robustly scalable when other data providers - such as cities and cantons - join in future, they designed an architecture with a central CKAN installation harvesting from two satellite installations, which themselves harvest from the other systems. As well as the custom harvesters, they also wrote a number of other custom extensions to adjust the look and feel of the site. Like CKAN itself, all their extensions are openly licensed under the Affero Gnu Public License (AGPL), and they have been involved in contributions to the core code, particularly in the area of CKAN's multilingual capability - essential in a country like Switzerland with four national languages. At the moment Liip is integrating datasets and webservices of two offices of the canton of Zurich into the federal pilot portal, and helping the city of Zurich to migrate their current open government data portal to a state-of-the-art solution using CKAN. marks a significant milestone in Open Data in Switzerland. Only a week before its launch, the National Council (the lower house of Switzerland's parliament) voted by a large majority in favour of an 'Open Government Data masterplan'. Hopefully we will be hearing much more of Swiss open data in the future.