The World’s most Ambitious and
Comprehensive Data Initiative to Date

The world’s most ambitious and comprehensive data initiative

The Dubai Data initiative, led by the Dubai Data Establishment and decreed by the Dubai Data Law of 2015, is the single most comprehensive city-wide data initiative guiding the opening and sharing of city data across the public and private sector.

Dubai Data will stimulate a new data economy for the city, unlocking opportunities and ultimately enriching quality of life for all Dubai stakeholders, including government departments, private organisations, investors, residents and visitors.

"Our aim is not to have the most data, but to unleash the greatest value from data, creating new opportunities and improved experiences for all."

– His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum

The Dubai Data Establishment, with Younus Al Nasser as CEO, operates under the Smart Dubai Office, which has been mandated to drive happiness, making Dubai the happiest city on Earth. The Dubai Data initiative addresses public and private sectors equally, with the government leading the way in participating in the opening and sharing of city data.

Dubai Data has been built on collaboration, and promoting cooperation and co-creation in both the operations and outcomes of the initiative. An inclusive process from inception, city stakeholders were engaged throughout the strategy and implementation process, with the aim to cultivate a culture of cross-sector sharing.

Following the announcement of the Dubai Data Law in October 2015, select public sector entities have been working closely with the Dubai Data Establishment to curate data sets for publishing through the upcoming Dubai Data Platform. Data collection and sharing framework called the Dubai Data Manual will also be made available prior to the launch of the platform. This iterative and collaborative process will define best practices for the opening and sharing of data by public and private sectors in the coming year.

Under the guidance of the Smart Dubai Data Establishment, data and information will become the ‘new currency’ by which Dubai’s residents, businesses, and Government will exchange value and develop new and innovative ways to live, learn, and do business in a culture of data sharing.

Rich Data for a Smart City

Data is an essential ingredient to a smart city, and data orchestration is at the heart of Smart Dubai’s strategy to transform Dubai into a global benchmark smart city by 2017.

Rich data that is opened and shared with all city stakeholders, according to international best practices for anonymisation and standardisation, facilitates connectivity and access to services and information, enhancing decision-making capabilities and enriching service delivery from the public and private sector.

The focus of the Dubai Data initiative is not to collect the most extensive amount of data, but to drive the greatest value from data, empowering all data stakeholders.contributing to significantly enhanced opportunities and improved quality of life in the city.

The Dubai Data Establishment is committed to developing an advanced knowledge ecosystem around data in Dubai, elevating data analysis and data science abilities for the public and private sector, and unlock the greatest possible value from Dubai data.

New wave of economic prosperity

Data is emerging as a significant economic force across the globe, as the exchange of information becomes more critical to sustained global positioning across every sector, from economy to healthcare to government. Today, the global exchange of data and information generates more economic value than the global goods trade, according to a recent McKinsey Global Institute report.

At the city level, data has a proven track record of generating significant economic impact: cities that have adopted public sector open-data policy report direct impact to GDP of approximately 1%. The Dubai Data initiative, which goes beyond open data to supporting the opening and sharing data between the public and private sector alike, is likely to generate an even wider impact.

Rich city data is a catalyst for innovation, opening new insights to government and business leaders to enhance existing operations and service delivery; identifying new areas of opportunity for growth from all sectors; and establishing a level playing field for entrepreneurs to discover, design and deliver new products and services addressing areas of unmet need across the city.

The combined impact of the insights unlocked by open and shared data, and the development of skill-sets to orchestrate and analyse data, will propel Dubai from a knowledge economy to an innovation economy, as individuals and entities take the leap from generating data to applying data for the benefit of all.

Strategic Objectives

Lead by the Dubai Data Establishment, the Dubai Data initiatives has set 11 strategic objectives towards creating a culture of data sharing and innovation, aligned with three core principles for data sharing and publication; data use and re-use; and privacy, confidential information and intellectual property:

  1. Enable Dubai to achieve its smart city vision of becoming the happiest city
  2. Managed data based on clear guidelines aligned with international best practices
  3. Achieve integration and harmony between the services provided by federal government agencies and local government bodies
  4. Optimise use of data for data providers
  5. Promote transparency and establish governance rules on the dissemination and exchange of data
  6. Increase efficiency of services provided by federal and local government entities, in terms of: level of quality, speed of delivery, simplification of procedures, and reduced operational costs
  7. Increase competitiveness of data providers and raise UAE standing on international competitiveness indices
  8. Improve decision making at federal and local levels to enable agencies to effectively process data, prepare policies, and implement strategic initiatives
  9. Encourage and nurture a culture of innovation that will lead to better quality of life for residents and visitors
  10. Balance the dissemination and exchange of data with preservation of data confidentiality and privacy
  11. Provide the necessary data for non-governmental actors in order to support the economic and development plans of the emirate


Dubai Data Establishment
The Dubai Data initiative is lead by the Dubai Data Establishment, operating under the Smart Dubai Office, to oversee and implement the Dubai Data Law; develop a culture of data sharing and evidence-based decision making among public and private sector stakeholders; and enhance data analysis capacity for the city, to achieve the greatest value from data for all residents and visitors. Younus Al Nasser is CEO of the Dubai Data Establishment.

Open Data Committee
Prior to the formation of the Smart Dubai Data Establishment, the Dubai Data initiative was steered by the Open Data Committee in coordination with Smart Dubai. The Dubai Open Data Committee was formed by decree of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan in November 2014 to deliver the Dubai Data strategy framework, law, and roadmap. Acting as custodians of the Dubai Data initiative, the Open Data Committee has now completed the hand over of all responsibilities to the Smart Dubai Data Establishment.