Feeds

Cambridge boffins draw map to Free Our Data

Campaign to open up Ordnance Survey adds up

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Top boffins have given economic backing to a campaign to relax access restrictions on government-collected databases, such as the Ordnance Survey's unrivalled stash of UK mapping information.

The Department for Business, Employment and Regulatory Reform (BERR, formerly DTI) released the analysis, commissioned from a team at the University of Cambridge, last week. It refutes the oft-cited government line that allowing free access and reuse of national data assets would harm the economy.

The Free Our Data campaign has been arguing against that line for two years, and now has the sums to back up its smack talk.

In fact, 147 pages of number-crunching led to the conclusion that opening up the data vaults at the Met Office, Land Registry and a host of other agencies could benefit the economy to the tune of net £164m. The vast majority of that sum would come from the Ordnance Survey, however.

Subject to a policy review, charges for accessing and reusing reams of data should therefore be dropped, they argue. It would mean developers could freely access mapping data to create their own location-dependent apps, rather than be reliant on Google Maps, for example.

Most pleasingly, an enormous administrative bureaucracy involving government departments paying each other for access to information could be torn down.

The government argues that businesses and individuals who use the data should contribute to the cost of collecting it. The counter-argument is damning: Ordnance Survey makes a profit for the Treasury, but locking down its maps suffocates a potential boom in Geographic Information Services and other businesses, that would funnel much more back into the economy.

The full report available here (pdf) from the BERR website (caution: only suitable for differential equation fanciers).

Guardian writers Charles Arthur and Michael Cross have been banging the drum with the Free Our Data campaign since the start. You can learn more or join here. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.