The government has announced more than £8 million of investment to help its departments, agencies and local authorities to release data so that new commercial opportunities may be developed.
The bulk of the funding, which runs until 2015, will create a new £7.5m Data Strategy Board Breakthrough Fund, to which public sector bodies can apply for funding to release data where there are short-term technical barriers.
A further £850,000 will go towards establishing an Open Data Immersion Programme, which will provide support to companies looking to reuse data to develop ideas for new products and services. A series of themed events and competitions run by the Open Data Institute will be aimed at helping SMEs and start-ups to understand potential business opportunities in different data sets. Competition winners will receive an investment of £20,000 to £25,000 to take their concepts into early product development.
Stephan Shakespeare, chair of the independent Data Strategy Board, explained: ‘The combined stimulus package contains new measures aimed at opening up access to public data to stimulate economic growth and to develop more efficient and transparent public services.’
One example of this relationship is the announcement of an upgrade to Ordnance Survey (OS) OpenData
, where people can now create and customise different maps thanks to upgrades to its online portal, which provides free access to a large range of mapping datasets.
More details of the different measures can be found on the Data Strategy Board website
. All of the measures announced are expected to be in place by early April 2013.