Aberdeenshire Council took forward for detailed consideration a move to make its data more accessible to people that I proposed. It was a pity support wasn't warmer on the day that saw the launch of www.data.gov.uk
My motion called on the Council to make data available in common data formats so that individuals and intersested parties can reuse this information and combine information togather in any way they chose.
The BBC recently used data on serious road accidents to publish interactive maps of accident blackspots and other public bodies are embracing the "Open Data, Open Systems" concept.
I start from the principle that the data a council holds belongs to all of us and therefore should be shared. There are lots of examples across the world of public bodies making their data available and in the UK, these moves are supported by the Cabinet Office and councils are starting to catch on. Kent dubs their initiative "Pic and Mix" and I like the idea of making data available for people to use.
This can also save Councils money. Making it easy for people to access data can save councils from building systems themselves. PlanningAlerts is used by thousands of people to be notified of nearby planning applications - without the expense of Councils building their own system. This gaves much better service to the public than trawling through weekly lists. WriteToThem.com is another initiative that enable citizens to find and contact their elected representatives. Let's make it easy for these systems to grow to meet public demand rather than building everything ourself and paying to do so.