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21 April 2019 10:34 pm

MOTC inaugurated 'Qatar Open Data Portal' today

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The Ministry of Transport and Communications (MOTC) today launched the 'Qatar Open Data Portal' to facilitate the dissemination of government data on the Internet through a single national platform, and make it available to the public, and to ensure the quality and provision of appropriate and in accordance with international standards in this area.

In his opening speech, His Excellency (H.E.) Minister of Transport and Communications Jassim Saif Ahmed Al Sulaiti said that as Qatar realises the importance of open data, "the Ministry of Transport and Communications launched the Open Data Policy in 2014 to achieve the objectives of national development and Qatar National Vision 2030. The aim is to provide public services efficiently and transparently, build the knowledge-based economy and boost innovation and creativity through an open and transparent culture where knowledge is available and accessible."

"In light of our work toward building a smart nation and our commitment to raising the name of Qatar in all global rankings where government transparency is a key factor, I am pleased to launch the 'Qatar Open Data Portal' today, which will be a gateway to government data, making information easy to access, share and reuse. This will help transform these data and information into tools and applications that help in areas of research, innovation and creative and smart solutions," he said.

His Excellency hailed the Ministry of Interior's initiative in the field of open data, and efforts of the Ministry of Finance and Planning and Statistics Authority, which took the lead and began sharing their data via the new portal.

H.E. the Minister of Transport and Communications said he was confident all government entities would join the portal soon to contribute to building a government that is more efficient, more open and more transparent for the good of all.

H.E. Minister Al Sulaiti pointed out that the world today is witnessing the flow of large amounts of data either by public sector institutions or the private sector or individuals for various purposes, and noted that these data represent a huge wealth if used for good. HE the Minister said that government sector data, in particular, can be useful given it is the main source for official statistics.

His Excellency added that many of these data are collected in the framework of running the tasks assigned to different parties. If opened and made available electronically, they can be used in an innovative way to find useful tools to support and develop business, facilitate public services and restructure administrative procedures.

The society will also support individuals and institutions in selecting decisions appropriate to their circumstances and situations and to create the most appropriate solutions to the challenges, he added.

H.E. the Minister of Transport and Communications highlighted the importance of open data in light of the digital age and new technological inventions in fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics , Internet of things, 3D printing, as well as the tremendous developments in computing power, and the availability of huge amounts of data among other factors. His Excellency added that these data represent a major resource for a knowledge-based society and is also one of the main drivers of trade progress and economic growth.

The studies have shown the extent to which the economic value of open data has grown, with the data economy in the EU is expected to reach 739 billion Euros by 2020.

MOTC Assistant Undersecretary for Information Technology Affairs Hassan Jassim Al Sayed said that the ministry launched this portal to publish government data online via a single national platform to streamline public access to data while guaranteeing its quality by making it available in the right format in line with best world practices.

The success of this new portal, he said, "requires government entities cooperation as MOTC will be responsible for managing the portal with a specialized team that will focus on supporting all government bodies to raise awareness and encourage them to upload their open data to the portal."

He explained that the team will monitor the international indicators of open data and then identify the main data sets that should be published on the 'Qatar Open Data Portal; in order to achieve better results in these indicators, as well as prepare an annual report on the performance of Qatar in the field of open data, to ensure continuous development and modernization

He noted that the Qatar Open Data Portal allows for the submission of non-available data requests to be published by the competent authorities to ensure full interaction and optimal response to the public's expectations.

"MOTC will also continue to organise workshops for open data ambassadors in each government entity, who have already been identified, to train them further in how to share their future executive plans as required at their entities," he added.

The event was attended by the Planning and Statistics Authority Chairman H.Ee Dr. Saleh bin Mohammed Al Nabet and the Administrative Control and Transparency Authority Chairman HE Hamad bin Nasser bin Rashid Al Misned , and representatives of a number of government agencies, held a panel discussion during which initiatives and experiences were presented in the area of open data. (QNA)