"Data Competence Center for Cities and Regions"

Open urban data platform as key to digital transformation

How can cities and municipal enterprises use urban data efficiently, transparently and profitably? With the "Data Competence Center for Cities and Regions" (DKSR), a project of the Fraunhofer Morgenstadt Initiative was spun off at the beginning of 2021. The DKSR uses an open-source approach to support municipalities in locating municipal data, retrieving it in a structured manner and sharing it securely. Four partners from the Fraunhofer Morgenstadt Initiative worked with municipalities to develop a platform offering as the basis for the city of the future. This joint initiative by Fraunhofer, Deutsche Telekom, [ui!] Urban Software Institute and axxessio gave rise to an independent company on February 26, 2021: The "Data Competence Center for Cities and Regions" will support municipalities in their data-driven transformation. For this purpose, it provides an open-source platform that guarantees data sovereignty, while ensuring further development and the exchange of best practices in the Morgenstadt Urban Data Community.



The challenge

Clean air in cities, networked mobility, user-centric administrative services, balancing out fluctuating use of renewable energies or rapid responses to crises - all these features of a sustainable and livable city will only be possible with digital solutions. But the individual needs and use cases of municipalities, cities and regions in turn require individual solutions. It turns out that the more digital services are implemented, the greater the need for an open data platform to aggregate, harmonize and integrate data sets from different systems. In the process, municipal administrations must make many decisions regarding technical infrastructure, provider selection, and data organization and security.


Our contribution

Fraunhofer ISST was involved in an early phase of the spin-off to ensure the topic spectrum of connectivity and conformity with respect to the DIN 27070 standard, which is driven by the International Data Spaces Initiative. The basis of this support is the provision of two software solutions. Firstly, "DIVA" provides a data catalog that enables meta-information to be (automatically) maintained for the data sources stored in the DKSR platform. Secondly, the Dataspace Connector is used as a gateway to connect the DKSR platform to IDS-compliant data rooms and to enable sovereign cross-organizational data exchange.



Through the DKSR, cities and regions can access standardized solutions and a large ecosystem of quality-assured providers. For this purpose, the DKSR does not use the data itself, nor does it offer its own applications. The DKSR works with all providers for digital smart city applications according to transparent rules, whose applications are then made available to all cities and municipalities in an open ecosystem. "Openness is the foundation for municipal data platforms," emphasizes Prof. Dr. Lutz Heuser, CEO of the [ui!] Urban Software Institute. Full FIWARE compatibility and the use of open standards according to DIN SPEC 91357 ensure that the DKSR is compatible and interoperable with all current systems. With an embedded IDS standard, this is the world's first open source data platform that already has the technical solution for implementing municipal data sovereignty fully integrated.


The Morgenstadt Initiative and the DKSR

Building on the Fraunhofer Morgenstadt network, the DKSR's "Morgenstadt Urban Data Community" offers a lively exchange of information for the joint further development of solutions and the exchange of data models and use cases. This has the advantages for cities and regions that they can easily adopt data-based applications and models via "plug and play". Events and dedicated communication channels promote direct peer-to-peer exchange. The joint development effort also ensures a reduction in costs. In addition, the community is involved in issues related to the DKSR. "We are convinced that shaping the shared space of the city can also only be done together and in dialogue. In addition to networks and communities for dialog, Open Urban Data Platforms will make an important contribution to success as a basic municipal infrastructure," confirms Michael Frank, Head of the Smart City Unit at Deutsche Telekom.

Dr. Alanus von Radecki, an expert from the Morgenstadt initiative, took over the leadership of the new DKSR. He was co-founder and longstanding head of the Morgenstadt innovation network and has built up a large network of innovation drivers in municipalities, research and industry. As managing director of the DKSR, he now brings the results from numerous innovation and pilot projects into broad application for cities and regions in Germany and throughout Europe.




The spin-off in the network

For further information on the "Data Competence Center for Cities and Regions" and contacts for cooperation, please visit: https://dksr.city/