Category Archives: Public data

Show us a better way update

The show us a better way competition, which invited proposals for better ways of communicating public information, reports back on the winning entries

Lots of interesting mashups with public data. Sadly the Ordnance Survey only temporarily freed up data they control for use in the competition. Shortly afterwards

“Ordnance Survey has emailed local government organisations waving its copyright stick. And it’s quite a bit stick. One which, in effect, could prevent many – perhaps all? – of the SUABW winners (Free Our Data announcementBBC announcement), and certainly those which might rely on local authority data that is in any way geographically related – from being implemented, certainly on Google Maps.”

Are the Show Us A Better Way winners safe from Ordnance Survey?

Free our data is the Guardian Technology campaign for free public access to data about the UK and its citizens.


Making sense of numbers

BBC News Magazine is running a series by Michael Blastland on making sense of numbers: interpreting data, research, media coverage.

Surveys & media coverage

Myth of counting: the economy, growth, recession

Michael Blastland is the author, with Andrew Dilnot, of The Tiger That Isn’t: Seeing Through a World of Numbers Continue reading Making sense of numbers

Public data mapping

Public data news

The Guardian’s Free Our Data campaign is a good source for policy and legal developments in the use of public data. Usually covered in the Technology edition, web and print versions, on Thursdays. They also have a blog: freeourdata

A recent Guardian piece by Michael Cross covers significant advances in freeing access to two publicly funded datasets: crime and postcodes. Every neighbourhood in England and Wales will have interactive crime maps online by the end of this year. Royal Mail has made it’s postcode address file of 28 million addresses available for the Show us a better way competition.

UK crime and postcode information edge ever closer to freedom

Previous post on the Show us a better way competition

More on representation: there are some previous posts on data mapping on this site. Continue reading Public data mapping

Google Street View

“Google’s controversial Street View photo-mapping tool has been given the all clear by the UK’s privacy watchdog.

The system takes pictures of streets and adds them to online maps to let people see what locations look like.

The project drew criticism from privacy campaigners worried it could breach data protection laws.

But the Information Commissioner said it was “satisfied” that Google had put in place safeguards to avoid risking anyone’s privacy or safety.”

BBC technology

And a more sceptical view from The Register

“The ICO’s statement makes no mention of what Google itself might do with the reams of data it is collecting.”

Public data, £20k competition

“What would you create with public information?

Ever been frustrated that you can’t find out something that ought to be easy to find?  Ever been baffled by league tables or ‘performance indicators’?  Do you think that better use of public information could improve health, education, justice or society at large?

The UK Government wants to hear your ideas for new products that could improve the way public information is communicated. The Power of Information Taskforce is running a competition on the Government’s behalf, and we have a £20,000 prize fund to develop the best ideas to the next level.”

Show Us A Better Way

Something to focus your research effort. Go team!

Some neat examples and a handy set of links for mashups, Google maps, Yahoo pipes and so on.

I don’t want to suspend critical judgement about the potential of Web 2.0 to transform institutions, but I have never seen a statement like this on a government website. It says

Disclaimer: I found these sites useful, but they are not an Official endorsement by the British Government. Have a look at them, make your own mind up and give us feedback in the comments”

This from the Cabinet Office. Encouraging.