UK government previews open data site to developers

The Cabinet Office is seeking developer consultation on UK equivalent of data.gov

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The UK government has completed a prototype version of a website that will open government datasets to the public. The Cabinet Office, the department behind the project, is now calling on developers to provide feedback and assistance with the site.

An equivalent site from the US government, data.gov, has been praised as a sophisticated application of technology in aid of making the business of government more open to public scrutiny.

A recent competition conducted by the Sunlight Foundation, offering developers a prize for the best ‘mash-up’ based on the data.gov data, gave an indication of the kind of useful and informative tool that such initiatives enable. The winning entry allows citizens to hunt for their own correlations between government data sets.

In the UK, open government initiatives have largely been driven from outside government itself, most visibly by mysociety.org, creator of the TheyWorkForYou.com and FixMyStreet.com websites.

However, the recent MPs’ expenses scandal has intensified calls for greater government transparency.

Developers wishing to participate on the project are asked to join the relevant Google Group.