DINAcon Awards Nominee


Project Start: 01. November 2017

Project Category: #4 Open Data

Foundation “MY-D” (non-profit, Geneva)


Water-fountains.org is an open source project and website where you can find and view all kinds of information about drinking water fountains in Zurich and other cities. You can view pictures of the fountains, learn about their history, find directions, and even search for fountains that have a drinking bowl for your dog!

The information displayed is extracted and automatically merged from Open Data sources (OpenStreetMap, Wikidata, Wikimedia Commons, and Wikipedia). The website thus provides complete, comprehensive and sustainable information maintained by the community. We plan to extend the website information like water quality and water flow, which are especially (but not only!) important in developing countries.

The water-fountains website also contributes back to the Open Data sources by highlighting missing information and explaining to the users how to contribute the information directly in the underlying data sources.

Project Business Case

The services provided to the average user of the website are simple:

  • First, it allows them to find the nearest drinking water fountain in order to quench their thirst. It also can be used to find fountains with dog bowls, and fountains where bottles can be easily refilled.
  • Second, it allows users to satisfy their thirst for knowledge about fountains by providing information like date of construction, artist, history, and links to Wikipedia.

For fountain operators, there is value provided in two ways as well:

  • First, information provided by the community can be used to improve the cities’ own data sets.
  • Second, the website can give users a quick link to the operators’ issue reporting website (e.g. https://zueriwieneu.ch), thereby enhancing allowing the operator to identify the fountains that need to be cleaned or repaired.

Project Importance

Besides providing the services mentioned in the business case (satisfying thirst for water and for knowledge), the project contributes to four overarching societal goals: first, it will encourage people to drink water, which is healthy. Second, it will discourage people from using disposable cups and bottles, which is good for the environment. Third, it showcases local culture and history, which is a good pushback in an age of depraved cultural globalization. Fourth, it encourages citizens to get out and discover their city by foot and bike, either to gather data or driven by curiosity. Data gathered locally in this way is available globally almost instantly (“act local, think/impact global”)

The project also distinguishes itself in the Open Data world in the following ways:

  • As a platform that brings together data from multiple Open Data sources in a transparent way.
  • It refrains from creating project-proprietary data collections, instead promoting and encouraging the maintenance of open data repositories, making more data available to other projects with minimum effort thanks to standardized and open APIs and repositories.
  • By contributing to these sources by importing cities’ local open data collections (e.g. https://data.stadt-zuerich.ch/dataset/brunnen)
  • By encouraging and teaching users to contribute to these data sources
  • Through its innovative dual license that includes profit contribution agreement to support the long-term development and maintenance of the project

Project Impact

If development stops, a number of critical features will never be implemented:

  • Continuous importing of cities’ open data to wikidata
  • Inclusion of water quality test results conducted by citizen scientists
  • Extension to more cities and languages
  • Extensions to include more GLAM data (as fountains for example have been also object to many paintings, nowadays and historically – theatres, etc.), historical and geographical information about why fountains are created in some place, etc.

Project Facts

License: Dual-licensed (please describe below)

License Description:

The terms of use and reuse of this project are covered by:

  1. The GNU Affero General Public License
  2. The Profit Contribution Agreement (PCA) between Licensee and MY-D Foundation (https://www.my-d.org/index.php/ProfitContributionAgreement)

Maturity: I am still thinking about how to start with the project

Number of Contributors: 7

Number of Commits: 446