Public Launch

Hello and welcome to the public beta of acts as an online point of access for government-held non-personal data. This is to enable people like you to take it, re-use it and make interesting things with.

This site has been some months in the making with a developer preview back in September. We made the site available to members of the development community to test it, use it and provide feedback on where we should be headed.

For those of you new to the project here is a quick summary of key features on the site:

  • Searching / Browsing datasets - allows you to quickly access data in areas of interest to you. Try browsing by subject tags, or searching for terms like ‘education’ ‘traffic’ ‘crime’. Individual results then provide you with links which will take you to the data.
  • Forum get involved in a conversation about the data and project through the forum. You’ll need to register to contribute, but anyone can have a look.
  • Wiki - - Here you can work together to share techniques, ideas, problems and tools. As with the forum anyone can view the wiki, but you will need to login to create new content.
  • SPARQL – the more technical of you will want to run you own queries against the data stores available; this is the place to start. There some advice about using SPARQL at
  • Ideas – got a great idea for how some of the data could be mashed up and presented? This is the place to go and submit your idea, with the hope that someone out there will pick it up and develop it. Ideas already submitted include using data that exists from the Environment Agency to map high flood risk areas.
  • Applications - here you will find applications that others have already created and submitted. You can view, comment on and rate all published applications as well as upload your own.

Thanks to the advice and feedback that our previewers have given us, there are a number of new features on the site which we have been working on and improving over the last few months. These include:

  • Datasets – we have both increased the number of datasets available on the site and made the information about each dataset more extensive.
  • Browsing - you can now browse datasets by listing all our data as well as common subject tags.
  • Wiki – The site has now integrated a wiki which enables the sharing of community knowledge. Every dataset now links to a wiki page which includes some example headings where we hope information about using the data with sample queries and example source code can be>
  • Forum – The site now has a forum which allows registered users to discuss aspects of the project in more depth.

As a beta release we know that there is a still lot to do and that this is very much a work in progress. We do hope, however, that the site starts to deliver the functionality and data that you would like to see. We’ll be working hard to make further improvements. Please do use the forum and other community functionality to let us know what you think - including anything that you think that we have missed out – to help shape the next version.

Please do spread the word about the project – here, with your friends, in your blog and on Twitter (please use the #opendata tag so we can follow your work).

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  1. Comment by Anonymous posted on

    I'm a web developer heavily involved in Web 2.0 UIs, using JSONP services to pull data into browser-based apps.

    Here's one I wrote earlier:

    But I've no clue what your project is on about!

    Is there some kind of data access portal which you can query to receive an XML or JSONP response?

    Where is it described?

    I've ferreted around on the site and found no help at all!

    Surprised how little feedback you are getting? Your "captcha" COMPLETELY disables all feedback on your contacts page.

    Typical A useless waste of money.

  2. Comment by Anonymous posted on

    Is there an interface to oneplace ( as i think we have been led to believe that citizens can go to ... one place ... for information?

  3. Comment by Anonymous posted on

    I typed in employment thinking some government stats would be signposted, but got odd references, like age ??

  4. Comment by Anonymous posted on

    This site is really a great step in opening up data to the public as well as supporting Web 2.0. Going to look at creating my own mash up when I find a data feed that appeals to me.

    Would be nice to have a list of all the private registrations that have been sold out by the DVLA? And even what car they're currently attached to...


  5. Comment by Anonymous posted on

    Coordination, collaboration and strategy; AKA, singing from the same hymn sheet would be nice. If central governing talked with local government and travelled in the same direction we might have a fighting chance of getting somewhere. instead we have a situation where there is duplication and chaos surrounding public sector information. We should have some chain of command where you define a strategy for all and Local Gov work towards a common agreed approach. otherwise the info you derive is simply underminded by us and vice versa.

    • Replies to Anonymous>

      Comment by Anonymous posted on

      Having been a driver of this approach whilst working in Government up to 1997, it is gratifying to see that at last someone at the top has woken up to the enormous potential and benefits which could accrue to citizens. Perhaps this is the time to dig out the 2 Government made videos from 1992 which highlighted many of the issues and opportunities. Sadly, the administration at that time took the view that "e-Government" would never happen ! The net result was that both videos were never publicly screened. The title of one was "Hymns Ancient and Modern" starring John Bird and specifically made for the Permanent / Deputy Secretary audience within the Civil Service to alert them to the fundamental changes on the horizon. The other was a documentary programme featuring case studies from around the world.

      Well done to eveyone in the team responsible for this initiative - still a lot of catching up to do though.

      Feel free to get in touch if you need some interesting and useful history or indeed if you would like to draw on 21 years of e-Government experience.

      David McLean

      • Replies to Anonymous>

        Comment by Anonymous posted on

        Hi David

        I currently work in an australian government department, and we are in the beginning stages of development to have our website based around your e-government principle. Our goal is to have our consumer more engaged to open the lines of communication - make it more interactive. Ultimately are goal is to be better in line with what the community wants and to have smoother lines between how we operate now and what works best in the community.

        I am wondering what main pointers you have for development and maintenace? And what were your biggest challenges?