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Denmark’s digital raw material

28-04-2016 Column

In Denmark, information on companies, citizens, property, geography and climate are stored in up-to-date national registers. This provides basic information about our society – we have selected the most essential registers that we call Basic Data.

Today all Basic Data is digital, and the Basic Data Programme works across the public sector to ensure that Basic Data contributes to growth, efficiency, better public services, and to stimulate new ideas and the development of new products.

The initial and - as it turned out - visionary step was taken in the 1960s, when the digitisation of public registers began. The digital registers ensure that today we have easy access to correct data, which was previously recorded by hand.

Potent public cooperation
Since 2012, local and central government have worked together in the Basic Data Programme. The purpose of the programme is to ensure safe and effective use of basic data through quality improvements, free access, and joint distribution of coherent data - with respect for sensitive information.

The Basic Data Programme is complex and it creates numerous challenges when authorities must cooperate across central, regional, and local levels. But all parties are committed and work together towards a common goal – ensuring easy to use, coherent data of high quality, made available through an effective distribution platform.

Everyday improvements
One example on the use of Basic Data, of which I am particularly fond, is from the municipality of Fredericia. The municipality has made it easier for emergency services to get to citizens in their community gardens by assigning individual addresses to each allotment, rather than having just one address for the whole area. This means that ambulances can now navigate directly to the individual allotment, rather than having to stop at the entrance and ask for directions. Better data means better service.

Centuries ago, when the first registrations of Denmark and of the Danes began, nobody would ever have imagined that it would become digital Basic Data.

In 2017 all digital Basic Data will be consolidated on the Data Distributor, where it will be put to work from day one. Basic Data will continue to form the basis of the important efforts in both the public and private sector to create large as well as small improvements for the Danes.

I am already looking forward to following future developments.

Lars Frelle-Petersen