Tim Berners-lee, the man widely credited with creating the worldwide web, has teamed up with the UK government to launch a new website called data.gov.uk which contains a slew of public sector data sets to be used for private and commercial ventures.
The project was initiated in June 2009 and aims at encouraging the development of public data mashups. It is expected to spawn a number of services that could revolutionise access and readability of public data.
The site is currently host to more than 2,500 data sets although the most important of them all, the Ordnance survey is still not available; that said, the government has announced that it would be freely available as during 2010.
There are currently 15 "Apps" currently available that make use of these data sets. Amongst the more interesting ones is which provides with an interesting combination between the affordability of houses and the commuting time via London Underground.
Sir Berners-lee told the BBC that "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."
More than 2,400 developers have signed on to play with the data provided. The launch of Data.gov precedes that of the London Datastore which will be launched on the 29th of January.
Maybe they should try something even bolder, why not encourage more citizens to participate online to make sure that their voices are heard. A Wikipedia-cum-Simcity project could allow tens of thousands to have a real impact on government decisions nationally and locally.