Feeds

Google Oz maps mashups herald brave loo world

Dunny data sets and more opening doors

New hybrid storage solutions

Relief is at hand for Googlers who get caught short while out shopping - Google Australia may have got its hands on the National Toilet Database.

This is just one of the new data sets that Google Australia is planning to incorporate into its Google Maps platform, courtesy of a major "open access" initiative by the Government 2.0 Taskforce.

Speaking openly about Google’s view of the ultimate prize in an interview with iTNews at the weekend, director of engineering at Google Australia Alan Noble said: "There's one data set in particular that we've been trying to get our hands on for quite some time - which is the national toilet data set.

"That's certainly one data set that we're very, very keen to use and get those toilet locations on Google Maps."

He also spoke of Google plans to add "other data sets", including data on cycling, boat ramp locations and marine hazards.

This follows a run-in earlier in the year between Google and the Government of Victoria. Google had attempted to provide support for the Country Fire Authority (CFA) website - which was having difficulty in maintaining an online list of bushfire updates - by overlaying publicly available data onto Google Maps to produce a real-time map of the fires' locations and intensities.

However, Google’s request to the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) fell foul of current laws on Crown copyright, which assign copyright over all government-produced information to the government and prevent its use without explicit consent.

The Toilet database is managed by the Australian Department of Health and Ageing as part of its National Continence Management Strategy – and it, too, bumped up against a strict interpretation of Crown Copyright.

Similar issues have dogged the attempts of UK citizens to free up information that might logically have been considered to be available through Freedom of Information requests. The University of Southampton is just one official body that has attempted to restrict the results of FoI to the original interrogator, and to prevent information being disseminated to a wider audience.

However, in a refreshingly open move, the Australian Government has set up the Government 2.0 Taskforce, with the explicit remit of stimulating and enabling open access to government data sets, which it defines as "access on terms and in formats that clearly permit and enable such use and re-use by any member of the public".

This opening up process is being encouraged by a context – Mashup Australia – which is offering members of the public a $10,000 prize for the best re-use of the data.

This in turn has led to a number of 'hackfests' being held around the country. The latest took place at Sydney's Googleplex on Saturday where programmers came together to work on actual data, as well as put forward ideas for new projects. ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux
Multiple desktops and live tiles in restored Start button star in new vids
iOS 8 release: WebGL now runs everywhere. Hurrah for 3D graphics!
HTML 5's pretty neat ... when your browser supports it
'People have forgotten just how late the first iPhone arrived ...'
Plus: 'Google's IDEALISM is an injudicious justification for inappropriate biz practices'
Mathematica hits the Web
Wolfram embraces the cloud, promies private cloud cut of its number-cruncher
Mozilla shutters Labs, tells nobody it's been dead for five months
Staffer's blog reveals all as projects languish on GitHub
SUSE Linux owner Attachmate gobbled by Micro Focus for $2.3bn
Merger will lead to mainframe and COBOL powerhouse
iOS 8 Healthkit gets a bug SO Apple KILLS it. That's real healthcare!
Not fit for purpose on day of launch, says Cupertino
Not appy with your Chromebook? Well now it can run Android apps
Google offers beta of tricky OS-inside-OS tech
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.