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European Commission - Fact Sheet

Cultural Gems mobile application: Questions and Answers *[updated: 10:00 10/12/18]

Brussels, 7 December 2018

Today, during the #EuropeForCulture closing conference of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 in Vienna, the Commission presented a new Cultural Gems application.

What is the 'Cultural Gems' web app?

'Cultural Gems' is a collaborative platform for sharing information on cultural and creative places off the beaten track in European towns and cities. It allows local communities, city authorities and visitors to collaboratively map cultural and creative places, highlight hidden treasures and better understand the multifaceted 'soul of a city. The app is a spinoff of the Joint Research Centre's Cultural and Creative Cities Monitor, and it is taking the concept of mapping and monitoring the cultural assets of European towns and cities one step further.

What is the Cultural and Creative City Monitor?

The Cultural and Creative City Monitor, which the European Commission launched in June 2017, is an online tool providing comparable data on how 168 cities in 30 countries across Europe cities perform covering culture and creativity. It aims to help local authorities and the cultural sector better understand the role and impact of culture and creativity in development and city life and make full use of the potential of culture to drive economic growth and social cohesion.

Why is the Commission releasing a monitor and an app on city culture and creativity?

Since the adoption of the first ‘European Agenda for Culture in a Globalising World' (2007), culture has taken an increasingly prominent place in European Union policymaking, as also reaffirmed through the ‘New European Agenda for Culture' (2018).

As part of its role to provide scientific support to policymakers, the Joint Research Centre, the Commission's in house science and knowledge service, has been developing indicators and tools to help policymakers better understand the drivers and impacts of culture and creativity in city life and their value for society and the economy.

What makes Cultural Gems different from other tourist information and engagement apps already available?

Existing tourism-oriented apps generally focus on a few specific cities or highlight only a few major landmarks. Cultural Gems is designed to help aggregate accessible information on cultural and creative spaces in European towns and cities using the same interface, and to give more space to lesser known cultural and creative places.

Cultural Gems provides a platform for a wide range of stakeholders to participate: from authorities and tourism offices through local organisations and residents to visitors and researchers. The content will be entirely user-generated and highlight the wide spectrum of creativity in a given town or city.

This is a fully open source project, so the data in the app can be used by policymakers and researchers to better understand the role cultural and creative places play in a town or city and their linkages with other aspects of local life such as mobility, tourism, economic development.

How is information added?

The map is crowdsourced; therefore citizens, local administrators and not-for-profit-organisations are key to uploadingcontent about their cities. Nevertheless, the app comeswith maps providing an initial set of points of interest for European towns and cities in the app from OpenStreetMap. We are also working with other institutions, organisations and projects to provide an interface to share their data.

How are you promoting Cultural Gems?

We are working primarily with our main partners, European cities, to promote the app. On top of this, we are using the European Commission's existing communication channels to share information on the web app.And we are cooperating with European networks of cities (URBACT, Eurocities, etc).

Which cities are already using the app?

Already a number of cities and regions have expressed interest on the basis of earlier beta versions of the app. They include large cities such as Vienna, Barcelona and Stockholm but also mid-sized and smaller ones like Genova, Bologna or Coimbra, as well as the Basque Country.

If the content is fully crowdsourced, how do you deal with offensive or inappropriate content?

By default all content gets published immediately as users post it, with three layers of moderation:

1. Dictionary matching: periodically, a script compares the web app's content to predefined "black lists" of openly offensive or inappropriate terms for review.

2. City level moderation: cities and towns with access to the administrative interface have full control on the content published in their area.They will be able to remove inappropriate content present in their city map or discussion board.

3. Peer-based moderation: users can flag inappropriate or offensive content for review.

How is intellectual property managed in Cultural Gems?

All the data contained in Cultural Gems are open data. The content is freely and openly reusable by registered and unregistered users. The content produced by users remains their intellectual property with a license to the European Commission to openly share and reuse it.

How is personal data managed?

Data is managed in line with the European Commission's data protection rules. No identification data is stored by the app itself or in databases directly connected with it. Identification data, where applicable, is stored via the European Commission Authentication Service (EU Login,

Will the app be available on Play Store and App Store?

No. Cultural gems is a web app that is used directly in mobile and desktop browsers on any device.

Does the use of a web app impact the performance of my device?

No, Cultural gems is a progressive web app: it is optimised for performance on mobile devices.

Which languages will be available upon launch?

The Cultural Gems interface will initially be available in English, French, German, Italian, Polish and Spanish. Users can upload content in any language.


For more information

Press release
Factsheets: European Framework for Action on Cultural Heritage
Factsheet: The Joint Research Centre


Press contacts:

General public inquiries: Europe Direct by phone 00 800 67 89 10 11 or by email

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