Maude claims Britain is 'leading the world' in open data

By Stuart Sumner
14 Mar 2012 View Comments
Tory Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude

Francis Maude has used his speech at a seminar hosted by Digital Birmingham to claim that Britain is leading the world in open data.

The Minister for the Cabinet Office told delegates at the event, held to celebrate the city's commitment to open government, open data and digital technologies, that this commitment is driving economic growth.

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"Britain is leading the world by making ever more data freely available," he began.

"Today, we are showing how companies including SMEs and start-ups, in Birmingham and beyond, are using open data to improve public services and create innovative products."

In December last year the European Commission said that it will be requiring EU members to make more data free to use by 2013, which the UK should be compliant with given its recent focus on open data.

Maude added that the government's site providing access to public data will be relaunched later this year.

"In the next few months, we will relaunch data.gov.uk – already the largest global resource of its kind – to make it easier to use, so that businesses and entrepreneurs can access free data more readily."

This initiative follows the government's consultation on open data, launched in August last year.

The Cabinet Office website cites Integrated Transport Planning Ltd (ITP) as an example of a data-driven business in the region, which has benefitted from access to this information.

ITP is a  specialist consultancy on integrated, sustainable transport planning and research, with operations in Birmingham, Nottingham and Milton Keynes. It uses publicly available location and travel data to bring information about accessible transport networks together at one online location.

Paul Tilsley, deputy leader, Birmingham City Council, emphasised the role that business has to play in making innovative use of open data.

"Entrepreneurs and businesses will play a pivotal role in driving innovation to deliver new services and applications that will create jobs and build vibrant and successful communities.

"Our focus is to make the data open and accessible and create the right conditions that will enable them to derive the benefits of being part of our smart, connected and open city."

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