No more decisions based on opinions and personal anecdotes. No more best-guess. The WA government is catching up with the world in making publicly-funded data open and accessible http://data.wa.gov.au State policy is making it mandatory that Departments, Councils and other organisations make their information available, easy to find and mostly free. Here’s the policy http://www.data.wa.gov.au/open-data-policy
This is the best good news I’ve heard for a long time. For years we’ve been excluded, asked to submit requests, told it’s too difficult and so on. No more! Everything from development applications, waste management, managers’ credit card statements, river chemistry and land transactions to road statistics will be easy to access. We’ve called for open government. Here it comes.
The big benefits we can hope for are better decisions, new business opportunities, fresh research results, greater transparency and better trust between government and community. For sure, there will be some misuse of data and there will be some lousy interpretation of statistics. There will be embarrassing moments for managers and elected members. There will be Gotchas and Told-ya-so incidents. There will also be Eureka moments where researchers discover trends and connections that make our lives better.
An implication for public officers is the understanding that their work is no longer behind closed doors. The public demands and deserves open access to the whole river of data, not just selected drips of good news. Even failed projects will now be accessible and can provide useful input to new planning and new research. Experience around the world has shown that one really big effect of Open Data is the elimination of wasted actions and wasted money.
To move our State into the next phase of development we really need to know what we have been doing and to find new opportunities for progress. One of the first benefits is sure to be in the area of energy, finding waste and discovering opportunities for renewables.
Here are some huge open data sources already operating. Click and see the enormous scale and application of these facilities and ideas.
http://data.gov.au Australian Federal government
https://www.data.gov/ Entire USA federal government
http://data.gov.uk Whole of government, UK
http://open-data.europa.eu European Union
http://blogs.worldbank.org/opendata/ World Bank
One of our challenges will be to actually use the data, to abandon decisions and planning based on limited perception. Another challenge will to open the door, to let the information out and watch where it flies to. What are your thoughts?
Please contribute by clicking on Comments, below. Just log in as Name or Anonymous, or email me.