There seems to be quite a lot of chatter about the government unveiling their data driven crime map for individual postcodes. (Website down at time of writing.)
If you head to http://police.uk and type in your postcode, you’ll be greeted with stats on anti-social behaviour and various other crimes committed in your postcode for the month of December. A lovely introduction to a gloomy Tuesday morning.
There’s no denying that many will see this as a great initiative; the use of open data in a transparent and easy to use fashion, whilst integrating a selection of web platforms that showcase the data in a way that most will find easy to understand, is by no means a bad thing.
But does it not seem slightly counter-intuitive to spend tax payers cash on something that could very easily have been built by the surrounding community of developers?
For a fraction of the price, why didn’t the government put a call out to those that frequent the data.gov.uk website, and various other developers situated in the UK, to create something similar? They could maintain its openess by allowing further development on top of the platform and most of all, reward those that took the challenge to create something using the data.
Now what will this really achieve other than driving real estate prices down and serving as another item on the checklist for 30-somethings finding out what the local schools are like for their children to attend?
Written by Matt Brawn
Image source: data.gov.uk