Europe’s first city data exchange (Denmark)

Creating a way for Copenhagen to use the data it generates to become a smarter city.

Europe's first city data exchange ( Denmark)

Europe’s first city data exchange (Denmark)

The Challenge: Create a way for Copenhagen to use big data to become a smarter city

The Solution: The City Data Exchange- a one-stop shop for those who want to provide data and those who want to use data

The Future: Expand the solution to other cities and communities around the world, enabling the development of smart city solutions

In 2015, the City of Copenhagen, the Capital Region, Realdania and the environmental cluster group CLEAN partnered with Hitachi to build the City Data Exchange: a virtual market place where groups and individuals can buy and sell data.

The idea is to gather the vast amount of varied and distinct data generated about the city, and make it easily accessible. People and companies can use the data to make Copenhagen “smarter”, and allow its inhabitants to live more productive, sustainable and enjoyable lives.

Much of this data is already in the public domain in a fragmented form – scattered across public and private websites and presented in different ways. The City Data Exchange is intended to bring it together and put it into a common format. It arranges the datasets in categories such as city life, infrastructure, climate and environment, business and economy. The buyers and sellers include everyone who provides or relies on a civic service, from built environment professionals to independent app developers.

A personal news service

The data being made available through the CDE is already being used create real time “smart city” services. One approach is demonstrated by Vizalytics Technology’s "Mind My Business" (PDF, 544KB) app. This sends shopkeepers an alert when something happens in the city that may affect them. This can be real-time information, such as an accident, or it can advise on future changes, such as the imposition of parking restrictions. As well as providing a dedicated breaking news service, the app passes on information about regulation changes, health and safety issues and so on.

Mobilising knowledge

The exchange also allows businesses to sell their own data, thereby putting to work a resource that would have been difficult to mobilise and monetise any other way. A good example is Geo, a Danish geotechnical engineering consultancy, which found a way to use the boreholes that were drilled to analyse ground conditions for the Metro City Ring road. It has installed subterranean sensors to turn the bores into a source of data on groundwater and temperature. This is a unique information source for groups such as geotechnical engineers working on construction projects and scientists studying environmental shifts. See more details (PDF, 612KB)

Geo commented that the data exchange had the effect of levelling the playing field between large and small companies. Jesper Furdal, the Director of Groundwater Engineering for Geo, said: “Geo and other specialized consultants get significantly easier access to the market and have the opportunity to compete on equal terms with more dominant companies. Moreover, City Data Exchange may provide a common framework for sharing subsurface data, and thus new standards.”

Coming up next

As well as providing a way to understand the physical and social process at work in Copenhagen today, the exchange also offers a way to plan for its future. Gehl Architects helps the city to design its public spaces, and bases design on a meticulous study of how people behave and what makes a space enjoyable (a technique that was pioneered in the 1960s in Siena). Now the data exchange gives its architects access to a wider range and greater variety of data than ever before, and the result is a deeper understanding of how the city’s public areas should be designed. See more details (PDF, 561KB)

As ever more streams of data flow into the City Data Exchange, the opportunity is there to use them to create solutions to many urban issues. This is a process that will be aided by emerging technologies such as smart buildings, smart power grids, embedded sensors, battery storage, autonomous and connected vehicles, smart street lighting to name a few of the transformative processes at work in the urban landscape. The chances are all of them will be more effective thanks to the Copenhagen exchange.


About City of Copenhagen

Copenhagen has set itself the goal of becoming carbon neutral in the next 10 years. To carry this out will require close collaboration between business, academia, government and the people of the city. The data exchange is intended to facilitate this process.

About Capital Region of Denmark

This is the government of Greater Copenhagen, which collaborates with business and municipal bodies to manage healthcare, transport, education, social services and environmental protection. It carries out these functions across eastern Denmark.


This is a cluster group for more than 170 clients and business operating in Denmark’s “Cleantech” sector: that is, public and private organization dealing in areas such as recycling, renewable energy, circular manufacturing, IT and electric transportation.

About Realdania

This is a philanthropic organization that seeks to solve social problems by improving the built environment. It does this by acting in a number of roles, including researching, advocating, facilitating and funding.

About Hitachi Insight Group

A dedicated team from Hitachi that is working to invent and implement Internet of Things technologies. The aim is help people and machines to work together as part of sustainable and intelligent urban systems.

City of Copenhagen, the Capital Region, CLEAN and Realdania
Release Date: 
May 2016
Products & Services: 
City Data Exchange website
Solutions By: 
Hitachi Insight Group