I’ve been playing around with the Ordnance Survey linked data and, while it’s not perfect, it’s certainly a step in the right direction.
It’s got me thinking though - in an ideal world, where an ‘information-wants-to-be-free’-esque hippy such as myself could get all the data I wanted, what cool stuff could be added on to this dataset to make it really useful?
- Shape files for all administrative regions
Yes, now this really is cloud cuckoo land, I know we can use the unit ID in combination with OpenSpace to display the layers, but, let’s be honest, OpenSpace isn’t great.
As with the linked data, it’s a step in the right direction, but the mapping (until you get down to street view) is not designed for screen, and the API is still a bit too buggy. I know there’s also a few licensing issues that a couple of people aren’t too comfortable with. Besides, shouldn’t we be able to use the platform that we want to use?
- Postcodes in every administrative region
This is where things get really cool, imagine if in every resource, there was a list of every postcode contained in that area - for example, looking at the resource for the resource for Coleshill, we could have listed every single postcode in that parish.
This would mean that, once others started making datasets that used the OS linked data URIs as identifiers, a simple postcode search would reveal everything that was relevant to that area.
Even better, every postcode could have its own URI (for example http://data.royalmail.co.uk/postcode/WS13+6YY (now you know I’m dreaming!)) which gave information about where that postcode was (lat/long, parish, police authority, council etc etc).
This is just a taster to get some conversation going, but please feel free to add your own ideas in the comments. Forget about licensing, let’s just imagine a brave new world of free data without limits and just go mad on this thing.