Data ecosystem mapping for open standards

Open standards for data are reusable agreements that make it easier for people and organisations to publish, access, share and use better quality data. Mapping a data ecosystem can help you to identify where standards could add value and identify which stakeholders to engage with.

Ecosystem maps help you to visualise, understand and communicate how data is published, accessed, shared, and used by different people and organisations. Mapping a data ecosystem can help you to identify where adopting or creating open standards for data could add value.

What is data ecosystem mapping?

Data ecosystem maps are a way to visualise, understand and communicate how organisations and creating and exchanging data.

Creating a map of a data ecosystem can help us to understand and explain how and where the use of data creates value. Ecosystem maps help to identify the stakeholders involved in creating value from data and their relationships.

The benefits of mapping data ecosystems

There are benefits to be gained not only from creating a map of a data ecosystem, but also from the process of drawing it.

Mapping requires you to consider the different actors, relationships and ideas in the ecosystem, and can generate useful insights and talking points. As a collaborative process it can build understanding of a data ecosystem across different stakeholders. The end product is useful as a communication tool to support engagement across the data ecosystem.

Creating maps of existing data ecosystems can help to:

  • develop shared understanding of the variety of ways in which participants add and create value
  • clarify roles and responsibilities to help improve an ecosystem and the adoption of best practices
  • support engagement, e.g. by identifying key stakeholders

Mapping data ecosystems when developing standards

Scoping a new standard requires developing an understanding of how and where introducing a standard might add value. Driving adoption of an existing standard requires engaging with and supporting potential users.

Drawing a map of a data ecosystem can help with both of these processes. Specifically, a map can help to:

  • identify where a standards can add value
  • bring clarity to the scope of the standard, by focusing on the supported data flows
  • identify stakeholders to involve in the process of developing the standard
  • support engagement by identifying the key stakeholders to engage with launching your standard

By mapping the ecosystem you can establish where your open standard fits and the value it can provide. By providing value to stakeholders, your open standard is more likely to be adopted and create impact.

Where can I learn more?

Find more information on data ecosystem mapping including tips on how to do it by yourself or in a workshop setting on the main Open Data Institute site in our guide to mapping data ecosystems.

How to use this guide

There are a number of ways for you to learn more about the creation, development and adoption of open standards for data.

About this guide

This guidebook helps people and organisations create, develop and adopt open standards for data. It supports a variety of users, including policy leads, domain experts and technologists.

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