Tim Berners-Lee puts Government data online

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the world-wide wibble, has unveiled a new website he helped build for the UK government.

The site, data.gov.uk opens a mountain of public sector data to the public, including NHS figures, crime data, environmental studies and traffic data.

"It's such an untapped resource," Sir Tim told BBC News. "Government data is something we have already spent the money on... and when it is sitting there on a disk in somebody's office it is wasted."

Berners-Lee was appointed by PM Gordon Brown in June last year to run the project. Developers fiddling with the data have so far built 10 apps to present them in a useful fashion. A example is Planning Alerts, which trawls through local authority planning web sites and e-mails details of applications to interested locals.

"It is a job that is never going to be entirely finished," said Berners-Lee's partner in crime, Prof Shadbolt of the University of Southampton. "Government is always collecting data."

Most of it is about us. We pay for it and rarely get to see it.