A site about how community groups and charities can make the most of data and open data to do something useful. Focused on Birmingham, relevant everywhere.

Local data and the Data.gov.uk site


In January the data.gov.uk site was launched at an event at the Guardian’s headquarters in London.

For the unitiated, this site is the government’s attemp, under the guidance of World Wide Web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Professor Nigel Shadbolt, to take data that is in the hands of the government and make it available to everyone. Of course, raw data – basically a load of numbers – isn’t necessarily something all of us want to look at, but with the help of some very clever people the data can be used to create some fascinating tools that can help us to gain a much greater understanding of our world.

There are already a number of very clever uses of around and, no doubt, the number will expand. To see some of the projects that are already up and running  – and no doubt familiar to some – have a look at this post on the Guardian’s data blog. You can find even more on the data.gov.uk site.

I also spotted a post about the Local Public Data Panel, which is tasked with working to free up lots of data sets from a variety of different organisations working locally – including councils, the NHS and education authorities.

It met in January for the first time and will be going for two years. These – taken word-for-word from the post on the data.gov.uk site – are its aims:-

  • Ensure understanding of the case for making local public data freely available for re-use
  • Promote innovative uses of local public data
  • Sponsor the further development of a single place on line (‘data.gov.uk’) for all public sector data, while meeting the specific needs of the local government sector
  • Encourage agreed standards for greater data and information sharing by local strategic partnerships.

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