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 2 June 2010

NHS organisational entities as a RESTful service

Posted in: NHS Information Centre | REST API              

3 Supporters so far - add your name

Posted by: James Munro

Public Sector Information Holder: NHS Connecting for Health

Information Asset: NHS organisational entities as a RESTful service

The problem

The NHS is a large and complex organisation which is periodically reorganised. All NHS entities have IDs, names, addresses etc, maintained by the Organisation Data Service. However, this data is provided as a periodic collection of excel files, csv files, access databases and the like. It is difficult and confusing to navigate and the hierarchical structure of the NHS is not reflected in the data.

Prior to NHS Choices, the nhs exposed a partially populated SOAP service exporting some of this data. This no longer exists and has not been replaced by any API that I am aware of, apart from a "services near me" service from NHS Choices.

My ideal solution

A restful service allowing access to NHS organisational data (codes, names, locations including lat/long), which can be navigated as a hierarchy or in other ways (by name, location etc)

In an ideal world this would cover the UK, not just England.

What I would do

We would use this to maintain and update the representation of the NHS which we use to support Patient Opinion's hyperlocal feedback service for the NHS and patients.

Posted at Wednesday, 02 June 2010 10:36:53 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  Comments [1] #   

 1 May 2009

School Inspection database

Posted in: REST API | Ofsted              

19 Supporters so far - add your name

Posted by: Feargal Hogan

Public Sector Information Holder: Ofsted

Information Asset: The School Inspection database

The problem

Ofsted regularly visit (on a cycle of between 2 and 6 years) each school in England and perform an inspection. The results of these inspections are published on the Ofsted website, historically in PDF format, more recently as html and PDF.

There is no published mechanism for creating links to these reports from outside the Ofsted site. Even DirectGov doesn't link directly to the latest Ofsted report from its school information pages. It has a generic link to the Ofsted homepage on every school's page.

Most schools try to make their latest Ofsted report available to visitors to their own website. Sometimes this is as a PDF copy of the report, sometimes as a link to the the Ofsted version. Both have their drawbacks. Local copies always raise an authenticity question. "Is this the full unexpurgated report?" With links, they often break. Ofsted move things around; a new inspection is performed, etc.

My ideal solution

There are 2 possible solutions here:

1) Ofsted develop/build/publish an API to allow external programmatic access to their datasets

Minimum functions required to include:
a) show_latest_report(school_urn) - directlink to webpage for the latest published report for a school
b) show_report_history(school_urn) - returns xml fragment containing details of all inspection reports available for a school (date, grade, type, format, uri, report_id)
c) show_report(report_id) - directlink to webpage for a specific published report

2) Ofsted regularly publish a full list of ALL reports for every school in an accessible format, including date_of_inspection, school_urn, grade/judgement, type, format, uri, report_id

The minimum accessible format would be an excel spreadsheet.

With #2, the private sector would be left to build their own apis to the data.

What I would do

Depending on the format unlocked, every school in England could create a permanent link to its latest Ofsted report. DirectGov could do the same. Third parties could add value by creating geo-mashups showing inspection grades of local schools as well as offering inspection history from school information pages.

It might also enable some interesting analysis on grade improvements.

Posted at Friday, 01 May 2009 15:51:55 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  Comments [0] #   

 28 March 2009

UK Patent Data

Posted in: REST API              

3 Supporters so far - add your name

Posted by: Open Knowledge Conference 2009

Public Sector Information Holder: UK Intellectual Property Office

Information Asset: Patent Data

The problem

The data on patents is kept purposefully difficult to access and interpret. While Google Patents has made some progress in opening up patent data, there is much to be done. First, there are many sources of patents, and an exploration of British and European patents is needed. For example, individual patents themselves are not that interesting - what is more interesting is how patents are made to cover entire technology platforms. In order to understand this, we need data and API level access to patent data.

My ideal solution

UK patent information published in RDF, or made queryable via SPARQL.

What I would do

Develop applications that explore how patents and technologies overlap.

Posted at Saturday, 28 March 2009 10:16:11 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  Comments [0] #   

URI addressable resources

Posted in: REST API              

6 Supporters so far - add your name

Posted by: Open Knowledge Conference 2009

Public Sector Information Holder: UK Government

Information Asset: URI addressable resources

The problem

It is one of the principles of the web, that resources (web pages, documents, data) are made addressable. This means assigning resources, URIs. In order to help create a more re-use centric web, the government needs to focus on allowing 'resources' to be addressable, as a first step to exposing its data.

My ideal solution

That when publishing to the web, government departments make the things of most relevance or use to the wider world, directly addressable. The ideas are expressed in the Power of Information Taskforce Report, but government department's don't follow through.

What I would do

This is an essential ingredient for developing the web of data - so key to pretty much any mashup application.

Posted at Saturday, 28 March 2009 08:47:36 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  Comments [0] #   

 18 March 2009

Open REST API for NHS Choices

Posted in: REST API              

4 Supporters so far - add your name

Posted by: Colleen Wilson

Public Sector Information Holder: NHS Choices

Information Asset: NHS Choices API

The problem

NHS Choices has a SOAP API, which allows access to the data used for the website. In order to use this information you first have to apply to NHS Choices to use the API. There is no good reason for this. NHS Choices information should be freely and publicly available for re-use, and made available through a REST API, which would be easier to use.

My ideal solution

An open, free, RESTful API for NHS Choices data, that would be much easier for developers to use.

What I would do

Integrate the information from NHS Choices with a community website I am working on, but there are many other uses that NHS Choices information could be put to!

Posted at Wednesday, 18 March 2009 09:22:01 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  Comments [0] #   

 12 December 2008

Consultations

Posted in: REST API              

1 Supporter so far - add your name

Posted by: Workshop on Finding and Re-using Public Information

Public Sector Information Holder: Central government departments

Information Asset: Consultations

The problem

At the Open Knowledge Foundation Workshop on Finding and Re-using Public Information, a list of 15-20 key government / public datasets were identified. Consultation information was one of these.

Government consultations are published all the time. Sites like www.tellthemwhatyouthink.org collect consultations in one place, enabling people to search all the consultations or be alerted to consultations of particular interest. This type of service would be easier to create and maintain if departments published consultations in a consistent way.

My ideal solution

A standardised mark-up for consultations, so they can be easily and consistently scraped.

What I would do

More services like www.tellthemwhatyouthink.org

Posted at Friday, 12 December 2008 09:54:55 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  Comments [0] #   

Planning Applications

Posted in: Local Authorities | Planning | REST API              

7 Supporters so far - add your name

Posted by: Workshop on Finding and Re-using Public Information

Public Sector Information Holder: Local Authorities

Information Asset: Planning Applications

The problem

At the Open Knowledge Foundation Workshop on Finding and Re-using Public Information, a list of 15-20 key government / public datasets were identified. Planning Applications held by local authorities were one of these.

My ideal solution

All UK planning applications to be published online using open and re-usable data formats. At the moment some planning applications are published on the planning portal website, some on local authority websites. This information should be brought together in an interoperable way that allows onward re-use.

What I would do

This is a core dataset for building almost any kind of local community website, that allows people to interact and express their views about changes to the local built environment.

Posted at Friday, 12 December 2008 09:01:41 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  Comments [0] #   

 5 December 2008

Government Expenditure

Posted in: REST API              

15 Supporters so far - add your name

Posted by: Workshop on Finding and Re-using Public Information

Public Sector Information Holder: HM Treasury

Information Asset: Government Expenditure

The problem

At the Open Knowledge Foundation Workshop on Finding and Re-using Public Information, a list of 15-20 key government / public datasets were identified. This was one of them.

Every year the Treasury publishes high level information about government expenditure as part of the budget. This data is not published on the web using formats which aid re-use (XML or RDF), nor is iit sufficiently detailed. In the United States by contrast Federal Government expenditure information can be accessed down to the individual transaction level.

My ideal solution

An API of government expenditure information published by the Treasury, plus more detailed government expenditure data.

What I would do

Package the information in ways that allow easy re-use and build services like US Government Spending for the UK.

Posted at Friday, 05 December 2008 18:43:49 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  Comments [0] #   

Company Information

Posted in: REST API | Trading Fund              

20 Supporters so far - add your name

Posted by: Workshop on Finding and Re-using Public Information

Public Sector Information Holder: Companies House

Information Asset: Company Information

The problem

At the Open Knowledge Foundation Workshop on Finding and Re-using Public Information, a list of 15-20 key government / public datasets were identified. This was one of them.

Companies House provides some free basic information about companies on the web, but not in a format that aids re-use. They also offer a WebCHeck service, which allows you to view a company's filing history and purchase copies of document images, as well as a selection of company reports. This information should be made freely available on the web. The Cambridge Economic Study into the impact of charging for information by the Trading Funds, including Companies House, showed there would be economic benefit if this information was made freely available, not least for Ramsey Pricing reasons.

My ideal solution

  • A RESTful API for company information filed with Companies House.
  • Free access to Companies House information.

The API should provide equivalent access to developers to data that the WebCHeck service provides to the public.

Posted at Friday, 05 December 2008 18:18:10 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  Comments [0] #   

NHS Choices API

Posted in: REST API              

3 Supporters so far - add your name

Posted by: Workshop on Finding and Re-using Public Information

Public Sector Information Holder: Department of Health

Information Asset: NHS Choices API

The problem

At the Open Knowledge Foundation Workshop on Finding and Re-using Public Information, a list of 15-20 key government / public datasets were identified. This was one of them. NHS Choices provides a free API to its service directories but only makes this available to "approved partners". This information should simply be publicly available.

My ideal solution

Open the NHS Choices API to everyone, not just "approved partners".

Posted at Friday, 05 December 2008 18:01:48 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  Comments [0] #   

 20 August 2008

Case Law

Posted in: ATOM Feed | REST API              

63 Supporters so far - add your name

Posted by: Francis Irving

Public Sector Information Holder: HM Court Service

Information Asset: Case law

The problem

Case law is a vital part of British law, which it is necessary to have access to in order to understand and obey the law.

Some case law is published via the independent charity BAILII. However, it is essentially proprietary information.

BAILII prevent it from being accessible to the general public via standard search engines, and prevent reuse in imaginative new projects.

My ideal solution

Publication of all case law by all courts on either the court, or the court service, website.

Failing that, simply publishing the same raw feed of decisions which is sent to BAILII would be excellent.

What I would do

Initially, simply enjoy all the new people finding decisions with search engines.

Others will create simple email alerting and RSS projects, to help people keep abreast of new cases.

Later, feed all the data into projects such as the Free Legal Web.

Posted at Wednesday, 20 August 2008 20:53:07 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  Comments [0] #   

 10 July 2008

School Performance Tables

Posted in: DCSF | REST API | XML              

7 Supporters so far - add your name

Posted by: Ave Wrigley

Public Sector Information Holder: Department for Children, Schools and Families

Information Asset: School Performance Tables

The problem

The DCSF school performance tables are available on the DCSF website (http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/performancetables/) but not in a format that is easily usable.

My ideal solution

I would like to access this data in a more convenient format (preferably XML, or through a REST API). I would also like to link this data with other information sources about schools (e.g. Ofsted reports) so it is important to have a universal system of school identifiers (currently DCSF and Ofsted appear to use independent systems).

What I would do

I would use it in my google maps schools mashup (http://www.schoolmap.org.uk/) to help people to access information about local schools more conveniently.

Posted at Thursday, 10 July 2008 17:30:09 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  Comments [0] #   

 8 July 2008

National Planning Appeals

Posted in: Planning | REST API              

3 Supporters so far - add your name

Posted by: Richard Pope, PlanningAlerts.com

Public Sector Information Holder: Planning Inspectorate

Information Asset:National Planning Appeals

The problem

Planning Alerts.com is a volunteer run free service that emails people when a planning application has been loged near where they live. We would like to be able to add national planning appeals to this service (ones made direct to the planning inspectorate).

My ideal solution

A data feed of national planning appeals ideally in this format: http://www.planningalerts.com/lambeth.xml but any machine readable format is fine.

What I would do

Use it to email people when a national planning appeal is made.

Posted at Tuesday, 08 July 2008 10:37:37 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  Comments [1] #   

Schools database (EduBase)

Posted in: ATOM Feed | DCSF | REST API              

9 Supporters so far - add your name

Posted by: Feargal Hogan

Public Sector Information Holder: Department for Children, Schools and Families

Information Asset: EduBase

The problem

June 2006 I was setting up a school governors website and was very interested in allowing new members to say which schools they are associated with. I asked DfES for a list under FoI. Scottish, Welsh and NI lists are available.

DfES directed me to Edubase who 'allow' download of 150 school details for free but require payment (via "Go Direct" on 01943 854854) for larger tranches.

My ideal solution

A spreadsheet, similar to http://www.dfes.gov.uk/localauthorities/section52/docs/DfES_Leagateway_document_408.xls, published regularly but containing the fields listed in the Edubase dataset.

What I would do

Build a feed to make this available as RSS/xml

Posted at Tuesday, 08 July 2008 10:03:12 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  Comments [1] #   

Bills

Posted in: Bills | Parliament | REST API              

12 Supporters so far - add your name

Posted by: John Cross

Public Sector Information Holder: UK Parliament

Information Asset: Bills

The problem

The way bills are currently published makes it excessively difficult for people/organizations to provide:

(i) email alerts where a bill mentions something of interest
(ii) information about which amendments an MP has voted for
(iii) allow people who understand bills to annotate them
(iv) many other useful services

In short, the way bills are published makes it more difficult for campaigning groups and charities to bridge the gap between the people who pass the laws and everyone else.

My ideal solution

The bills should be published as structured data. This is relatively easy and inexpensive but once it is done people and organisations can start the real work of building useful applications.

One such organisation MySociety has already gone as far as setting out how the data could be structured and has estimated the initial cost to be around £10,000. They have also estimated that no more than one full-time employee would be needed (while Parliament is in session) to published the bills in a structured form.

See technical details suggested by MySociety here: http://www.theyworkforyou.com/freeourbills/techy

What I would do

I am not a software programmer so if the data was published I would have to wait for organisations like MySociety or Friends of the Earth or Unlock Democracy to build applications that I could use to:

  • sign up to email alerts to find out about things I care about
  • find out how my MP was voting on bills/amendments
  • find out what amendments actually mean
  • lobby my MP to vote for/against

Posted at Tuesday, 08 July 2008 09:54:18 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  Comments [1] #   

 7 July 2008

London Gazette Supplements

Posted in: ATOM Feed | London Gazette | OPSI | REST API              

6 Supporters so far - add your name

Posted by: Harry Metcalfe

Public Sector Information Holder: Office of Public Sector Information

Information Asset: London Gazette Supplements

The problem

Notices & Supplements are not available in any machine readable format. They contain a wide range of extremely useful information about the activities of government and business.

My ideal solution

I would suggest two improvements that should run alongside each other:

  • A REST API to query the existing database of notices and supplements. Data should be returned in XML or some equivalently useful format, and the API should be able to perform text searches, limit results by date or the type of notice/supplement, etc.
  • An Atom feed for new notices. The system should provide a "see everything" feed as well as allowing users to specify what they'd like to see more narrowly, along the same lines as the database search API. This is essentially the same as the API, but provides 'live' access to the latest information in the gazette, rather than a search for its back catalogue.

What I would do

This is a rich dataset that provides many opportunities for innovation. One could use the information to monitor for the registration of company names of interest and to be notified of corporate insolvencies. Notifications of upcoming major roadworks could be overlaid onto a map, as could applications to discharge fluids into national waterways.Various notifications of applications for planning are published in the Gazette, which could be of great interest to those affected by them, and could be worked into services such as PlanningAlerts.com.

There is such a wide variety of data in this dataset that the possibilities are limited only by imagination.

Posted at Monday, 07 July 2008 09:20:33 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  Comments [0] #