Forgive me, but I think this project is doomed.


I became a member of this community nearly a year ago.  I wanted to use my programming skills for the public good.  After finding that there was little data that was of use to me, I gave up visiting this site.  Nearly a year on, it's still going nowhere.  The forum should be huge by now.  It isn't.  The list of data-sets is pathetic.

I can only describe it as "Yes Minister." data.  Harmless.  Unlikely to generate controversy.

Unless access is given to the raw data, this quest for knowledge is doomed.

I will log in again in a year with the hope there may be progress.

Regards, Peter.



Would be nice to have more activity and content available - while we can create our own topics and talk about our own subjects, having data shown and being readily available via the forum, perhaps through moderators or admins would be highly desirable.

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Give it time

I would say that it is still very early days.  Data publishing is very new to most public sector organisations, defined as the publishing of 'raw data in a machine readable format'.  Even the concept of metadata is new to some, as very evident.  Let's hope for more progress over the next 12 months - better data management within the data publisher organisations and improved publishing capabilities.


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Public sector organisations need do little.

"...improved publishing capabilities..."

I disagree.

All that is required are copies of the ORIGINAL data files together with corresponding data dictionaries.

Leave it to us to convert that data into a more useful form.  Let the civil servants continue to provide value for money.


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Assuming it's not available or will take forever..

I think part of the reason that they aren't asked is that people will assume they'll take 8 weeks to provide it, and so it's useless for many applications, such as research for a new business idea etc... if it were already there then it would be used. "Build it, and they'll come" I think is the quote...

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Is this a catch-22? The public do not ask for (raw) data hence departments don't publish; the public don't know what (raw) data exists and so can't ask; dpeartments are not asked hence they won't publish - no demand!

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Free government data

For many applications it really is a lot more than just getting the raw data. It needs to be in a form where it can be linked to other data. For instance, mapping and geographical information systems need links based on coordinates, National Grid References or postcodes (too coarse for many applications). Whilst those links can be created by programmers it may be just too much work to make the app worthwhile.

Our bi-monthly GIS Professional will be dealing with just this issue in a two-parter beginning with the February issue (


Stephen Booth

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I think I should retract my "Doomed" statement.

I have just found the COINS data.


I am going to see what I can do with it.


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I think maybe you should..

I've just grabbed the very same data..

Hopefully it'll make for an interesting read!


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