CKAN – Open Source Data Portal

Used widely around the globe, CKAN is an open source software that enables the storage, management, provision, and use of open data as well as the display, search, and visualisation of data. Both governments and national and international companies and organisations already use CKAN to make all types of data available to the public, for example, on population sizes or water/air quality. This data is not only useful to citizens, but also to traffic and the environment. It is used to develop applications that can prevent traffic congestion, facilitate political decisions, or alert to harmful substances in the air, for example. Data and processes thus become transparent and accessible to everyone.


CKAN has become a powerful catalogue software that can be used to make data and metadata available to users in the most varied of formats and, in part, visualise the data. Ultimately, it is the users who create the added value –by developing business models based on the data, for example. Additional benefits can be achieved by linking several datasets. What’s more, CKAN can be embedded in websites or WordPress pages via plug-ins.

The software has a metadata structure, which is not only a tool but also a means of communication for those interested in the open data, such as decision-makers, developers, and other organisations. Among others, the metadata structure enables the description of datasets, documents, and applications. The structure comprises numerous levels. On the top level are the most important characteristics, such as the title, designator, description, persons responsible, and terms of use. Another important level contains a list of the actual data, documents, and applications. The most important feature of these resources is the URL. It is possible to make a note of the descriptions and formats for each resource. In this way, files with related contents can be combined in one single dataset. This is possible for data from different time frames as well as in different languages and formats.


Important CKAN plug-ins

CKAN Google Analytics Extension

With this plug-in, Google Analytics can easily be integrated into the CKAN page to track and visualise user activities.

CKAN Harvest Extension

The Harvest Extension is primarily suited to administrative districts or large companies, for instance, which have additional lower-level CKAN portals. The plug-in allows the resources stored there to also be integrated into the portal.

CKAN WordPress Extension

This plug-in integrates the CKAN page into WordPress, allowing for easy website management via the WordPress admin interface.

CKAN QA Extension

The Quality Assurance Extension provides an evaluation of the “openness” of each dataset by analysing parameters such as format to check whether the open standards are met.

CKAN Disqus

This plug-in enables users to comment on datasets and discuss possible benefits with other users.


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