I spent the beginning of a very busy week last week talking about the benefits of making public sector data more accessible. I was speaking at the launch of public transit data in Brussels, where the local public transport agency STIB made their schedule information available for use within Google Maps in Belgium.
As in all previous Transit data launches this is a non-exclusive arrangement, and others organisations or individuals could make use of the data to build applications.. This is one of main drivers of making information like this available, as it allows innovative solutions to be developed rapidly to meet real user needs.
The most well developed ecosystem of applications developers around transit data has developed around the BART System in San Francisco, who have a web page listing around 30 free and paid for applications which help people use public transport in the Bay Area.
At last weeks launch in Brussels, a local developer eMich demonstrated their android application which provides access to real time information on the STIB system, clear evidence that Europe’s developer community are just a proficient at meeting users needs given access to the data.
In the UK the government has made some excellent progress in both providing the mechanism to download government data sets, but also working hard to develop a community of developers and innovators around www.data.gov.uk.
Now just a few weeks after the site went live we are beginning to see applications developed that exploit the data, a personal favourite of mine is the asborometer, a mobile application that allows a user to understand local crime data in a very simple way..
Listen to the developer Jeff Gilfelt describe his project..
Written and submitted from home (51.425N, 0.331W)