Press release

Open Data User Group issues call for open data requests

The Open Data User Group (ODUG) has called on developers and the open data community to request the release of public sector data.

26 September 2012
CAB 104-12 

The Open Data User Group (ODUG) has called on developers and the open data community to submit requests for the release of data they believe will have commercial and social benefits and contribute to economic growth.
 
From today, anyone with an interest in accessing public sector information can submit a request to the ODUG using a new online form at data.gov.uk.
 
The call comes on the day that the UK takes over as lead co-Chair of the international Open Government Partnership (OGP).

Speaking in New York on the eve of the first anniversary of the OGP, Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude will set out the UK’s ambition to move the organisation forward from commitments on transparency and openness to concrete actions, emphasising the need to demonstrate how transparency can drive prosperity and growth.
 
Francis Maude said:

As the lead co-Chair of the Open Government Partnership, we will use our expertise as a global leader in transparency to help other countries turn their words into actions. Open data is the raw material of the 21st century, a resource for a new generation of entrepreneurs. Transparency drives prosperity and growth. It shines a light on underperformance and inefficiencies in public services and allows citizens and the media to hold governments to account.

Since May 2010 we have published over 8,000 datasets, making the UK one of the most open and transparent governments in the world. But I’ve always said we would go further. This initiative will help further engage the open data community and broader civil society to ensure that we prioritise the release of data that has the greatest potential benefit for society.

Also today, as part of the UK Government’s drive to make public data more widely available and support economic growth, the Met Office is beginning a consultation with application developers on its new DataPoint weather data visualisation app to further refine the service.

Currently, in its beta release, DataPoint is a way of accessing freely available Met Office data feeds in a format that is suitable for application developers. It is aimed at professionals, the scientific community and student or amateur developers, in fact anyone looking to re-use Met Office data within their own innovative applications.
 
Met Office DataPoint now includes access to:

  • forecast and observation map layers such as radar and cloud cover for the UK;
  • forecast and observed site-specific data such as temperature, wind speed and direction;
  • regularly updated text forecasts for mountain weather, national parks and UK regions.

Notes to Editors

  1. The OGP is a multilateral initiative which aims to secure concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance. The UK’s drive for greater international transparency will help to promote and deliver the Golden Thread of development and support the UK’s joint leadership of the post Millennium Development Goals high level panel and presidency of the G8 next year.
  2. The OGP Co-Chairs provide strategic leadership to the initiative, convene the steering committee as necessary (quarterly), facilitate proposals on relevant policy/governance issues, and conduct outreach on behalf of OGP with governments, civil society, the private sector, donors and the media.  The lead chair is charged with hosting the annual OGP Conference and Steering Committee meetings, with assistance from the support chair.
  3. The UK will have the role of “senior” co-chair, alongside “junior” co-chair Indonesia, until September 2013.
  4. The ODUG online form for open data users’ data requests is hosted by UK Government open data portal data.gov.uk - the largest resource of its kind in the world. The form gives individuals and businesses the opportunity to describe the data they want and what benefits its release could bring. The submitted requests will provide ODUG with arguments to secure the release of more data for free.
  5. The Open Data User Group is a customer group which will advise the Data Strategy Board on behalf of the public and private sectors on releasing data free at the point of use and for re-use. It will act as a vibrant advocate for the benefits of Open Data to government, business and citizens. Drawing on expertise from the data-user community, provide sound and considered advice to the DSB on how additional funding - £7m in current spending review period - for Open Data should be prioritised. It will also be able to provide advice to the DSB on subsequent spending review period bids for additional funding for Open Data. This data will be sourced primarily from the member organisations of the Public Data Group (PDG) - currently the Met Office, Ordnance Survey, Land Registry and Companies House - but the ODUG will be free to advise on the release of data from other public sector organisations.
  6. The UK is one of the most open and transparent governments in the world. As lead chair of the Open Government Partnership (OGP), the UK aims to drive forward the global transparency initiative. Since helping to found the OGP just one year ago with seven other governments, the UK has helped to grow the initiative to 57 nations.
  7. Transparency is a key component of the UK Government’s public services reform agenda and of its programme of support for economic and social growth. Transparency commitments have been taken forward through three major policy announcements: the first two through prime ministerial letters to government departments in May 2010 and July 2011; with additional commitments announced as part of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, in November 2011. Find out about the Government’s Transparency programme here.
  8. You can stay in touch with government activity on Transparency and Open Public Data at www.data.gov.uk, and through Twitter: @UKTransparency; @datagovuk; and @cabinetofficeuk and with the Open Government Partnership @opengovpart.

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