Open Data is the practice of making data public accessible under a permissive license. It is not the same as open source, which only applies to software.
Open data and open source have a symbiotic relationship : without open data, an open source railway software can only be used by industry insiders. Managing data access is hard, expensive, often not necessary, and reduces the availability of critical data.
Alone, open data already brings a number of key benefits:
- companies can use open data in their products, which also promotes railway services
- researchers can study the data immediately, and can find the data by themselves
Yet, open data used by an open source toolbox open up new prospects:
- companies and researchers can use the open source tools to analyse the data, which greatly reduces the barrier to entry by alleviating the need for custom or paid-for tools
- customers can use the toolbox to improve how they use railway services
If multiple actors have open data exploitable by an open source tool, these datasets can be combined and used to provide and plan for common services.
OSRD and Open Data
- having rolling stock and infrastructure open data enables anyone to simulate trains, study and evaluate the railway network
- having timetable open data enables anyone to study rail network usage