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UK Says ‘Show Us a Better Way’ With Mashups

The UK Power of Information Taskforce is challenging developers to mash up their public data. Today it launched Show Us a Better Way, collecting ideas and offering £20,000 (about $40,000) to develop the best ones. There have already been 50 ideas submitted. The list of ideas is public. Those outside of the UK appear to be eligible, as long as the idea is put to use in the UK.

The taskforce describes the release as “gigabytes of new or previously invisible public information.” The data is from census, health care and education sources. Data is aggregated and does not contain any personal information.

This public information release should be a welcome news to mashup artists, whose work is sometimes restricted by the amount of data available. It is also a welcome sign that a government group understands it may not have all the answers. While releasing data is common, encouraging people to use it, and rewarding them for contributions, is not.

Among the APIs recommended by the taskforce are Google Maps and Flickr. We’re looking forward to seeing what comes of this competition.

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