More Open Data

Last week saw the release of the 2013 Report on Agency Adoption of the Declaration on Open and Transparent Government, which directs all Public Service departments (and others) to release their high value public data under a Creative Commons licence.

The report noted that agency uptake of NZGOAL is steadily increasing, with sixty-nine percent of planned data releases to be licensed for legal reuse. Eighty-four percent of departments are including the Declaration in their core business planning.

“Beehive, Wellington, NZ” by Stewart Baird, via Flickr. Made available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commerical No Derivatives licence.

This is good news. The potential effects of the open data programme, as stated in the Declaration itself, go far beyond the open data community. As the Declaration puts it, the point of releasing open data is “to enable the private and community sectors to use it to grow the economy, strengthen our social and cultural fabric, and sustain our environment. We release it to encourage business and community involvement in government decision-making.”

So, more open data is a Good Thing. But where can it be found? The first place to look for open government datasets is the appropriately named data.govt.nz. While data.govt.nz doesn’t host any datasets, it links to over 2300 datasets on other government websites; nearly 2000 of these are made available under a Creative Commons licence.

The datasets give a range of information about New Zealand, including 2013 Budget Data from Treasury to Child and Youth Prosecution Statistics from the Ministry of Justice. More than half the datasets are provided by Land Information New Zealand, with many more datasets provided by Statistics New Zealand and Treasury.

Other sources of open data and content include DigitalNZ, which links to 120 content partners across the country, and the award-winning LINZ Data Service, which allows users to ‘layer’ datasets onto an Open Street Map. We also have the folks at Wiki New Zealand–we profiled WikiNZ here–who make a range of graphs from open government data.

If you can’t find what you need, go to data.govt.nz and make a request; otherwise, go to FYI.org.nz to make a request under the Official Information Act.

If you make anything with the data you find–or even save time and energy by finding what you need–we’d love to hear about it!

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