Posted by: Matthew
Public Sector Information Holder: Ordnance Survey
Information Asset: Electoral Boundary Data
I find it odd that if I want to know the actual boundary of the ward or constituency I am in (co-ordinates, not just an image), I have to pay Ordnance Survey lots of money for their Boundary-Line product. I would have thought that, given it's quite important to know which MP or councillors I'm going to have the option of electing, that this information should be freely available as part of a healthy democracy; it's compiled by the various publicly funded Boundary Commissions/Committees as far as I know.
My ideal solution
I think the actual data rather than just images of the boundaries should be available, so that people can create things using the data - you can't do anything with images besides display them. For example, I can't create a Google map (using their My Maps feature) of my ward marking on where and when councillors hold their surgeries, and other local amenities. I can't create an application that asks people to select where they live on a map and it tell them if their Parliamentary constituency will be changing at the next general election, what it's changing to, and what difference that makes to them.
I am aware of the election-maps.co.uk website, but this is extremely hard to use - you have to know the name of your area before you can enter a postcode, you can't look up by e.g. ward name, and it only provides images of the boundaries.
Originally posted in the OPSI Discussion Forum.