The government has asked web inventor Tim Berners-Lee to create a single point of access to public data as its data site begins to take shape.
It is hoping this access will lead to new technologies and services being developed.
Prime minister Gordon Brown asked Berners-Lee to look at access to government data in June, after Barack Obama's administration launched an open source data site.
Minister for Digital Britain Stephen Timms spoke yesterday at an RSA/Intellect Technology event about how the government wants to provide a framework for using data in new ways.
He said information is the "essential raw material" of a new digital society. "Government must play its part by setting a framework for new approaches to using data and 'mashing' data from different sources to provide new services which enhance our lives. In particular, we want government information to be accessible and useful for the widest possible spectrum of people."
Timms said, "We are supporting Sir Tim in a major new project, aiming for a single online point of contact for government data, and to extend access to data from the wider public sector. We want this project for 'Making Public Data Public' to put UK businesses and other organisations at the forefront of the new semantic web, and to be a platform for developing new technologies and new services."
So far, 1,300 people have signed up to the developer forum and contributed to the discussion board on what the data could be used for. The Cabinet Office also held a developers' camp where ideas were shared.