The influential Power of Information task force, the group working within the Cabinet Office to suggest better ways of using Government Information has published their interim report back to government in a “wiki-like” form to allow comments from the community before final publication.
As any reader of this blog will expect, there is considerable discussion of the potential value and problems associated with access to geospatial data in the UK.
The report make a number of recommendations which don’t really appear to be that radical, and are not a million miles away from suggestions I have made in the past, lets hope the influence of the cabinet office can move policy in Southampton with more success.
Here are the recommendations themselves..
▪ Basic geographic data such as electoral and administrative boundaries, the location of public buildings, etc. should be available free of charge to all.
▪ There should be simple, free access to general mapping and address data for modest levels of use by any user
▪ Voluntary and community organisations pursuing public policy objects should benefit from straightforward standard provisions for ensuring access to geospatial data at all levels of use
▪ Licensing conditions should be simplified and standardised across the board and, for all but the heaviest levels of use, should be on standard terms and conditions and should not depend on the intended use or the intended business model of the user.
▪ The OpenSpace API, similar to but currently a constrained version of Google Maps should become the primary delivery point for the Ordnance Survey’s services
Although not a recommendation in itself, clearly a key point remains the OS view of derived data, and it viral effect on the creation of geospatial data in the UK, the current situation where even the smallest use of OS mapping in locating a new feature on a map results in the OS claiming IP on the whole map cannot continue.
Overall the report itself and the process by which it has been created are a great example of how Government can really make use of “web 2.0” approaches to change how policy is developed, discussed and communicated.
Written and submitted from home, using my home 802.11 network.