Data group plans to sell info

The four members of the Public Data Group (PDG) are working together to develop new commercial, revenue-generating data services, Land Registry chief executive Malcolm Dawson has told CSW. The move will help Land Registry to generate an income from some of its data, funding the publication of other datasets without charge.

National Crime Agency

By Matt.Ross

19 Sep 2012

“We need to be able to charge for some data so that we can invest in developing the systems to release other data free, and providing it in the formats and standards that they want it,” he added. “For the most part, our customers say that they’re perfectly happy to pay a charge. It’s nice to have stuff for free, but if it’s a choice between free and very little data or more data but with some charges, they’d much prefer [the latter].”

The PDG’s members – the Land Registry, Ordnance Survey, the Met Office and Companies House – have been tasked with releasing more of their data for free. But much of the Land Registry’s income consists of statutory fees, and the organisation is barred from using this money to pay for the processing and publication of free data. “Under the current rules we can’t subsidise releasing free data from statutory fees, because we’d be taxing people to release the data,” Dawson said. “So our challenge is to create a model for releasing data that is self-sustaining.”

As examples of potential revenue-generating services, Dawson cited the group’s work on tackling fraud and on logging the public sector’s property assets. Some of this work is likely to lead to new releases of free data, he said, “but there probably are commercial services that we could provide jointly, particularly to the private sector, to help them counter fraud themselves.”

The PDG’s members are also pursuing plans to develop a shared team to secure commissions abroad.

See the full interview.

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