UK Government joins the open data revolution

UK Government joins the open data revolution on the heels of the launch of London’s DataStore, the UK government is about to open up its own free public data initiative. is due to launch tomorrow with ‘Father of the Web’ Sir Tim Berners-Lee cutting the virtual ribbon.

Although not officially open for business, the site is already (kind of) live for you to look around. It is incredibly shaky though, and showing lots of 404 errors. This possibly possibly due to intense demand and possibly due to some final behind-the-scenes tweaking before tomorrow’s launch.

The site offers almost 3000 data sets. As Read Write Web’s Marshall Kirkpatrick notes, that this is almost three times the amount of data offered by the US government’s own service.

The UK site is expected to offer information on everything from house prices to air quality. While much public interest data can be requested by members of the public using the Freedom of Information Act, that is a slow and laborious method that is open to misuse. Having a central resource for UK data will be a great help for developers, journalists and anyone who is just curious about the world around them.

So, what kind of apps might be built with this data? The site’s front page shows apps that have already been created during the service’s development. These include a visualisation of house prices in the UK and an ‘Electronic Account System’ whatever that is – we can’t say for sure as the detailed descriptions won’t load at present. We’ll take a closer look once the site launches officially.

Personally, I’d love to see Augmented Reality apps, spectacular data visualisations and Twitter apps that use the data – I can’t think exactly how right now, but there’s always a way to incorporate Twitter!

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