While governments across the globe are committing to open data policies, these are proving harder to deliver than to write! Raleigh has asked its citizens to contribute to their policy development. The great thing about this, is that they’ll get an idea of who wants to use their data and how. Government data are often published to answer a set of random questions in formats that aren’t accessible to statistics programs.
I expect Raleigh will have much more success with this approach than the UK Cabinet Office did with their Public Data Corporation. Announced in January 2011, the Public Data Corporation was to “bring together Government bodies and data into one organisation and provide an unprecedented level of easily accessible public information and drive further efficiency in the delivery of public services”. Unfortunately, it took so long to figure out how it was all going to work, that the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills struck it off the register in January 2012. We may yet see a revival of the Public Data Corporation, although the proposed Raleigh approach of providing a centralised directory to separate agency data sources may be the compromise they’ll have to make.