I like to criticise strong linked data (i.e. not just REST/HATEOAS) for being impractical and too strongly based in academia.

Now, I want to be proven wrong: have any end-user open data applications been built on RDF? By end user application, I don't mean abstract things to handle "the general case" or weird attribute table viewers, but concrete tools which can answer questions about government, e.g. parliamentary tracking apps, procurement data browsers etc.

Some candidates I can think of are Poderopedia and PublicSpending.gr, but I'm not sure how deep this goes in either case.

  • 1
    Perhaps this question would be better suites for meta discussion. As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or specific expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion.
    – Kermit
    May 21, 2013 at 22:23
  • Hm, I was simply hoping for a few links to look at?
    – pudo
    May 21, 2013 at 22:33
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    Linked data is not necessarily open data, though it often is. The questions seems to be more about the usage of linked data, regardless of open data. There are certainly many uses of linked data, though I'm uncertain as to whether they are open data or not. May 22, 2013 at 1:51
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    Asking for examples using RDF sounds fair game to me. @pudo doesn't ask for subjective judgement of the examples, just there existence. Perhaps a good candidate for a community wiki?
    – cboettig
    Jul 17, 2013 at 0:51

6 Answers 6


I would love to answer this, but I have no idea what "strong linked data" means. These techniques have been used in a lot of products, the dbpedia.org system has been used by a number of systems, ranging from Watson (maybe IBM is considered too academic) to Siri (I don't think Apple is an academic group). Schema.org and Facebook's Open Graph Protocol are also big users of linked data vocabularies and web linking schemes.

Going to government, there's been a lot of work using linked data in various ways. The Brits are the lead, a number of their open sites, based on the Ordnance Survey maps among others, use linked data. Within the US, we have demonstrated a lot of uses at hackathons, in some of the competition winning apps, and in some the info sources available on line.

There's an article Jeanne Holm, George Thomas, Chris Musialek and I wrote that covers some of this - IEEE Intelligent Systems and some thoughts about what we are doing at data.gov

So my fast summary is that like many technologies this is being used as a component in many apps, it is not by iteself proposed or fielded as a be all and end all - but without the URIs, the data doesn't make it to the Web, and then we cannot exploit many of the powerful things that open data allows.

(I have a column in the soon-to-be-released issue of Big Data called "Peta vs. Meta" that says a bit more about how the schema.org stuff is used - see also schema.org/Dataset)

  • Sorry about the ambiguous "strong linked data" thing. I think that a few "practices" from linked data, such as the use of URIs, have moved into mainstream web application design, while other aspects - ontologies, and RDF and SPARQL in particular - remain relatively obscure.
    – pudo
    May 21, 2013 at 22:44
  • Ontologies are mainstream. Anyone with lots of data either adopts or invents an ontology/vocabulary for their data. Schema.org, Dublin Core, GoodRelations, FOAF are all popular in terms of adoption. RDF is the conceptual model used for many ontologies, but it is less frequently used in user-facing contexts. SPARQL endpoints are perhaps as popular as any generic API - that is to say: unpopular. Jul 17, 2013 at 1:54

The BBC has written a fair bit about its use of linked data:

  • Great pointer @phillipadsmith. Perhaps expanding the essence of these links would be helpful. Jul 12, 2013 at 21:59

Poderopedia uses Linked Data, as you mention. I have developed a few of my own as well:

What I like of Linked Data is that in my experience is much easier to model data using semantic technologies than creating custom relational schemas, especially when you are not sure about all the aspects of it (i.e., you may want to add new attributes, integrate different datasets, etc).

Hope it helps


The Organogram application on data.gov.uk is built on Linked Data. The application uses the UK government Linked Data that describes the structure of government and pay scales to provide a visualisation and explorer for citizens.

E.g. Cabinet Office: http://data.gov.uk/organogram/cabinet-office


While it's not an end-user application in the sense that I think you mean, to comply with UK Government guidelines, the consultation system Citizen Space uses RDFa metadata. The company behind Citizen Space have built their own aggregator of data from agencies that use their system


The Environment Agency in the UK produced a bathing water quality application for end users that is built on linked open data.


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