Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, today launched a major government web portal drawing together official data sources.
data.gov.uk is still in beta version, but already offers a massive array of public data – 2879 data sources and counting. These cover areas such as traffic statistics, data on schools, health, crime, housing, deprivation…. the list goes on and on.
A search on ‘religion’ and ‘religious’ yields a number of results: portals to Census data, data and reports from the Citizenship Survey, data on religiously-motivated crime, and the religious character of schools among others.
The site uses an open licence, which allows government-owned data to be reused freely.This is a hugely important resource, and follows closely on the heels of the Obama-sponsored Data.gov project. London’s Datastore is also in beta version, and is hosted at data.london.gov.uk, with an official launch due in late January.
However these projects are never truly finished: they depend on government authorities continuing to release data, as well as the wider community of developers and data users reusing the data in exciting and intuitive ways.
Over the past year or two the wider data community has begun to create exciting new visualisations and data mashups, for example using sites such as Many Eyes and applications like Google Earth and Gapminder. The possibilities are endless.
The Guardian datablog has just listed a ‘top ten’ of what developers have done with the data so far: click here. This sets a bar for the presentation of religious data – let’s see what can be done.