Mash-up lessons for e-Government

I was asked to speak yesterday at the e-Government National Awards Conference at the Savoy, in London – very nice gig btw!!! I was presenting on the potential impact of web 2.0 approaches and the development of mash-up applications to future e-Government services.

Coincidently a perfect example of what I was suggesting as a future approach was announced yesterday by the US Environmental Protection Agency who are taking their first steps by publishing the locations of some contaminated land sites in XML of their website, with the specific intention of allowing citizens to analyse the data themselves. Of course raw data has always been more available in the US and I not getting into that debate… the difference here is that by publishing data in XML the EPA are opening up the data for people to manipulate using their own lightweight applications.

Such approaches to providing public access to government information are by their nature simple and rapid to implement, with the current focus on “shared services” in government and bringing together back-end systems to reduce cost, we should not forget that they are simple and cheap approaches to providing greater levels of information to the citizen by allowing the citizen to carry out the analysis themselves.

Another key point I made was that the next generation of citizens, “Generation Y” if you like, are in many ways more open to sharing data, having grown up defining they characters on-line on mySpace and Bebo than today’s. However this willingness to share data with others, even government? comes from the fact that as authors their “own” their own data and are free to modify, correct and update it.

For anyone delivering the citizen services of the future here is an important lesson – it is NOT your data, it is the citizens and they must feel true ownership of it.

Written and submitted from home, using my home 802.11 network.

6 comments

  1. Keith Mosley

    An interesting comment about e-Government in the last sentance from someone who worked for the OS, which is surely the most obvious Govenrment Institution to which these comments could be made.

    Keith

  2. Ed

    Keith,

    My comments relate to personal information, I would not include OS geospatial data as citizen created. Citizens can of course create their own geospatial data, see the openstreetmap and free the postocde projects.

  3. Joe

    Thank you for your insights. As a young GIS Analyst working for a City government I have been struggling to convince
    my leaders to adapt a more open data format for sharing information with the public. Although, they would never say it, I believe their biggest fear is accountability for the data. This movement to XML schema maybe more pull than push. I think educating the public on open formats is the key. Citizen may then begin demanding it from their governments.

  4. Pingback: Free Our Data: the blog » Blog Archive » Ed Parsons, ex-Ordnance Survey: ‘data belongs to citizens’
  5. Pingback: edparsons.com » Blog Archive » The Power of Information Report - connecting .gov.uk to the mashup generation

Post a comment

You may use the following HTML:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>