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David Cameron gives examples of how you could use public data. (if it was available that is)

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I was reading David Cameron’s speech at the Imperial College London yesterday titled ‘Giving power back to the people’ and he actually managed to pull out some nice examples of public data use or rather, what is possible. He even used the word ‘mashed up’, which hopefully means the word has been slightly demystified.

Under the header of political accountability, he went into detail about how public data should be set free and how it could be used. Here are some of the examples I dug out which illustrates what is possible with free data.

  • By releasing crime data; communities can build their own crime maps, see what crimes are being committed and hold the police accountable if nothing is being done about it.
  • If local councils started publishing information in a standardised format, the public could develop local versions of TheyWorkForYou or Bebo apps that tell teenagers about the opening hours of their local sports centre.

The keyword here being standard formats, a few weeks ago Nick talked to Tim Coleman from the Coventry Strategic Partnership and he was raising concerns about this. Some of this data is already being released, but not being in an accessible format, only people with access to very specific technologies and resources can use it. The power of public data only becomes apparent once it’s accessible to everyone.

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