Examples of how open data can improve public sector performance

Image: Jared Zimmerman

By Robert Palmer

An official got in touch with me earlier this week to ask for help explaining how open data can make government more efficient. I naturally turned to twitter for inspiration and had a flood of useful suggestions. Rather than losing all the great ideas, I’ve brought them together here.

This is something that a number of people have already done — often far more thoroughly than I have here — but hopefully this list includes some helpful new suggestions. Thanks to all who responded.

New additions after publication:

  • Charles Arthur pointed out that the U.S. government’s release of GPS is the “ur-government-open-data of them all”. GPS is government-funded, open specification and anyone can build equipment which picks it up. GovLab have a detailed case study of the impact of it here.

Something pointed out by Ed Parkes is that while many of the above examples are either (a) how data has had an impact on public services or b) open data’s economic impact, there is less on open data’s impact on public services.

I’m sure this conversation will continue. Feel free to add more examples in the comments section or get in touch and I’ll add them to the list.