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Data.gov.uk: Where's the Data?

The new data.gov.uk site has been launched which open up government for reuse by companies and individuals. Sounds great!

  1. Government publishes data using "open standards, open source and open data"
  2. Geeks from accross the whole country get to work analysing, cross-referencing and building cool applications
  3. Everyone wins

The problem is it's still quite difficult to find really usable data. For example, take the first data set: 2008 Injury Road Traffic Collisions in Northern Ireland. What we actually get is a link to a landing page on the Police Service of Norther Ireland website with links to statistics on everything from crime statistics to Workforce Composition Figures.

And it turns out they're all PDFs, a next-to-useless format for data processing.

Also, I have found many pages that are simply a placeholder for future data, such as the page on the Annual abstract of statistics which currently states "There is currently no text in this page."

Now I think it's a great start, and there are already some pretty cool apps available, but I think that data.gov.uk could do better job of distinguishing between usable datasets, and placeholders or pdf reports.


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