Local Government


Stretching FoI beyond a reasonable use case? 8

“The Freedom of Information Act is a good thing” – sounds like a reasonable statement that would attract a lot of support from many who read this blog or who live in the open data, open source, open whatever communities. In line with my position on the cost/benefit of Open Data, I have occasionally wondered whether some people/organisations are ‘taking the mick’ with their FoI requests. The act applies to all and any requests regardless of the […]


Why OS refuses an exemption request

A few weeks ago I wrote about Ordnance Survey’s response to my FoI request regarding data exemptions and I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised at the high proportion of requests that were granted. The FoI response left a gap as far as I was concerned so I asked a follow up question “You state that refusals were because OS “considered the risk of release of the dataset, to OS or our partners, outweighed the positive […]


A location grid is not an address 7

     This is going to be a longish post if you don’t care about addresses this might be one to skip. This post was prompted by reading Mike Dobson’s review of What3Words, shortly afterwards Rollo Home pointed me to an article about Google’s Open Location Codes, the topic also popped up on the OSGeo mailing list when someone tried to promote their proprietary grid and direction system, which prompted some quite strong responses to say […]


Ooooh – a round thing with spokes! 5

I picked up on the twitter conversation between my friend James Rutter and folk at CycleStreets about an application to Ordnance Survey’s GeoVation program for “a modern interface to UK wide planning application data“- note that OS is offering a share of £101,000 to the winners of this challenge, that’s quite a lot of taxpayer dosh. There was a tooing and froing about whether yet another initiative was needed to aggregate planning information. I have written before […]


Could you make a better map than this?

Last week, the Local Government Association released a new version of its Shared Services map, they say: “We have changed the appearance and layout of the map to make it more user-friendly” Hmm, have to wonder how unfriendly it was prior to the changes!   Pause for a minute, try it out, see what you can discover about the 383 shared service agreements between 337 councils in England (95% of the total) that are predicted to […]


Satnav Summit – haven’t they got anything better to do? 1

I was just thinking it’s a while since I have been prompted to write a blog post and then this morning the Today program has a short feature on Norman Bakers proposed Satnav Summit and I’m awake and frothing (awful thought that you may not want to dwell on for too long). Apparently while the austerity agenda is savaging public services and job prospects across private and public sector  look grim, DfT think we need […]


A plague of potholes – citizen science may not be enough 2

Potholes are one of those things that get everyone united in righteous indignation “Harumph, they should do something about this!” No one is going to suggest that potholes are desirable but are we too eager to bash the local authorities who are tasked with spending our taxes to keep the roads in good condition? The Telegraph and several other papers reported last week on the “plague of potholes” identified by the AA’s recent Streetwatch Survey. […]


When the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing you can get into a Pickle

Government is a big place, so it isn’t surprising that different departments can have conflicting agendas or not always be completely in the loop about what others are up to. A couple of weeks ago an announcement came out of DCLG that a new wave of council openness was being hailed by Eric Pickles. A Code of Recommended Practice for council transparency is being published and “ministers are minded to make it legally binding” “The code of […]


Publishing Local Government geodata on Google Maps 1

Last year Geo.me were in discussions with a potential partner in Local Government and the dreaded derived data question came up, something along the lines of “we’d love to work with you but …” There still seems to be quite a lot of confusion about what data Local Government (or for that matter any public sector user of Ordnance Survey base maps) can or cannot publish using the Google Maps API. I thought that I […]


#uksnow needs True Grit 6

I had been planning to write blog piece about the poor state of local authority gritting maps after a little rant on gritting maps on twitter a couple of weeks ago and now I need a gritting map myself. The roads in Muswell Hill are completely impassable this morning, there isn’t that much snow but the gritting lorries have not been seen and the “Hill” bit is a dead giveaway for the slithering chaos around […]