Tim Berners-Lee to launch UK public data website

Web founder Tim Berners-Lee is to launch a government website today that is aimed at giving the public better access to official data.

Web founder Tim Berners-Lee is to launch a government website today that is aimed at giving the public better access to official data.

The data.gov.uk website will offer free access to public sector data, ranging from lists of schools, to traffic volumes on major roads.

Through 2010, the government will allow access to large swathes of data, including health data such as the NHS Choices data, public transport data, and Met Office weather service data.

Berners-Lee, who was commissioned by the government to help develop the website, has predicted a "significant increase" in economic growth if more public data is released.

The target is to kickstart a wave of services that find novel ways to make use of public information, which is "such an untapped resource," Berners-Lee told the BBC.

"Government data is something we have already spent the money on and when it is sitting there on a disk in somebody's office it is wasted," he said.

A test version of the site has been running since September, with more than 2,400 developers registering to test the site and provide feedback.

At launch, the site will offer 2,500 data sources and 10 applications, including PlanningAlerts, a free service that searches local authority planning websites for applications and alerts subscribers.

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