What would you create with public information?

Ever been frustrated that you can't find out something that ought to be easy to find?  Ever been baffled by league tables or 'performance indicators'?  Do you think that better use of public information could improve health, education, justice or society at large? 03_journey_planner_warning_detail_2

The UK Government wants to hear your ideas for new products that could improve the way public information is communicated. The Power of Information Taskforce is running a competition on the Government's behalf, and we have a £20,000 prize fund to develop the best ideas to the next level. You can see the type of thing we are are looking for here. If you can build it - even better - we have an additional £20,000 cash to give you.

To show they are serious, the Government is making available gigabytes of new or previously invisible public information especially for people to use in this competition.  Rest assured, this competition does not include personal information about people.

We're confident that you'll have more and better ideas than we ever will. You don't have to have any technical knowledge, nor any money, just a good idea, and 5 minutes spare to enter the competition.

Go on, Show Us A Better Way.

Latest News

2010 New Year update

It’s been a busy 6 months with changes and developments happening all over the place so it is definitely time for a progress update:


SchoolGuru, which was already established, has upgraded its functionality to provide a more informative tool which is easier to use. Have a look at the changes and read some of the fantastic feedback it’s received from the 2500 unique visits per month.    


The winning Postbox locator idea from Jenny Ingram’s daughter was in fact already underway by Matthew Sommerville and his locating postboxes website. This was a workaround due to a lack of precise location details for postboxes. So if you are aware of postboxes that have not yet been located, do make a note of them and record it on the website.


Keep your eyes out for the launch of FreeLegalWeb’s Beta site which seeks to join up the law and legal commentary on the web creating a useful resource for both lawyers and citizens.


In addition we’ve been working on a project called Making Public Data Public which (as the name suggests) focuses on unlocking government data. This work was reinforced by the Putting the Frontline First: Smarter Government Report which was published in December 09. Data was a core theme within the report which committed to ‘radically opening up data and promoting transparency’ and laid out Government’s public data principles http://www.data.gov.uk/ will be launched tomorrow. This will give access to public data, allow suggestions of what to do with the information and act as a platform for developers to share the applications they have developed using the data. It should also help us gather some of the data required for the other great winning ideas. 


Progress on Show Us A Better Way and a beta report

final sprint

Now it's been a little while since the winners were announced so it's about time for an update on what we've been up to, what's coming up and how you can get involved.

In developing your ideas we have needed to balance the speed of development with the need to maximise the impact we have. There are therefore a mixture of open and closed source products and some where we are still trying to work out how we can best help.

The list below gives a quick update on where we are on the winning ideas. These will then be fleshed out more fully in later blog updates.

  • Can I Recycle It? - We are providing Search Engine Optimisation to www.recyclenow.com to build awareness
  • UK Cycling - We are working out whether we can unlock cycle routes, and how we can help the very strong community
  • Catchment Areas - We have created a tool to show catchment areas with no IP problems. These can then be used and reused freely
  • Location of Postboxes - We are working with Royal Mail to understand the issues
  • Loofinder - We are looking to expand the existing SatLav service to more councils through Mobile Directgov
  • Road Works API - We are again looking at the data issues
  • Oldienet - We will create a mockup and seek to partner with a charity
  • Free Legal Web - With OPSI have provided extra support to help establish charity
  • Allotment Manager - Working to find partners to develop this
  • Where Does My Money Go - We are working with the Open Knowledge Foundation to build an open source tool

These were already up and running so just go and have a look

  • UK School Maps (showing where the UK’s schools are - building on data released for the competition by the Department for Children, Schools and Families);
  • School Guru, which helps determine whether your child could get into a school (in Hertfordshire only at present);
  • Where’s the Path, with an Ordnance Survey map and Google Maps satellite picture of any spot; and
  • UK Wreck Map, showing the location of undersea wrecks around Britain’s coast.

If you are interested in what we have done here you might like to read our draft report. It has been something of a labour of love over the past couple of months and we would be delighted if you could help us refine it with comments over the next week. We will then refine the draft to draw on the comments before submitting it to the Minister for Digital Engagement Tom Watson.

You're on the radio (now) ...

Apologies for the short post (and no picture) but I have just had it confirmed that the winner of Show Us A Better Way will be announced on Radio 4's PM  programme tonight.

Listen here

  • Submit Your Idea

About This Site

The Power of Information Taskforce is helping government become more open, transparent and effective through better use of published information.

This competition is asking for your help in developing better ways to publish the vast swathes of non-personal information that the government collects & creates on your behalf

Public data is your data. Tell us what you'd build with it and you could win £20k to develop your idea to the next level.

Latest Ideas

  • 2010 New Year update
  • Polluter Finder
    Find out about and act on pollution in your area - search by pollutant, name and location.
  • WhoKnowsWho
    A service where anyone can find the immediate connections of MPs and MEPs.
  • Free Car Checks
    Help consumers to avoid buying fraudulent or stolen cars
  • Responcity
    A service to allow ordinary people to find out who is responsible for anything from roads to dental regulation.

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