Start-ups and entrepreneurs are being encouraged to lobby the British government for the release of data that can fuel their business and provide social benefits.
The Open Data User Group, a cross-industry interest group that includes Sainsbury's and Experian as its backers, has today introduced a data request function for the government's data.gov.uk site.
The move comes as the government underlined the importance of its open data initiative.
“Open data is the raw material of the 21st century, a resource for a new generation of entrepreneurs. Transparency drives prosperity and growth. It shines a light on underperformance and inefficiencies in public services and allows citizens and the media to hold governments to account,” said Francis Maude, Cabinet Office minister.
“This initiative will help further engage the open data community and broader civil society to ensure that we prioritise the release of data that has the greatest potential benefit for society.”
One area that has already generated huge interest is weather data. The Met Office provides data feeds, via its DataPoint portal, which allow developers to add real-time weather data into their apps.
The Met Office has now embarked on a consultation programme with developers to look at ways to further improve the service.
DataPoint currently provides developers with forecasts for temperature, wind speed and direction, cloud cover and the like.
Not everyone is enthused by the government's Open Data initiative, though.
In August, MPs on the Public Affairs Committee slammed the government's shoddy release of data. It said large quantities of raw data had been dumped on the public with too little thought about how it could be interpreted.
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