GKB: Geodemographics Knowledge Base

The Panopticon is a type of institutional building designed by the English philosopher and social theorist Jeremy Bentham in the late 18th century. The concept of the design is to allow a single watchman to observe (-opticon) all (pan-) inmates of an institution without the inmates being able to tell whether or not they are being watched. Although it is physically impossible for the single watchman to observe all cells at once, the fact that the inmates cannot know when they are being watched means that all inmates must act as though they are watched at all times, effectively controlling their own behaviour constantly. The name is also a reference to Panoptes from Greek mythology; he was a giant with a hundred eyes and thus was known to be a very effective watchman.

CDRC Data Store

Consumer Data Research Centre, is the UK's leading source of consumer data, part of the ESRC's Big Data Programme. Datasets are organised by Topics and listed on this site. They offer data under three tiers: Open, Safeguarded and Secure. Access to data in the Safeguarded and Secure tier is through a reviewed application process.

CDRC Masters Dissertation Scheme - archive

The programme offers an exciting opportunity to link students on Masters courses and their university supervisors with leading retail companies on projects which are important to the retail industry.

The scheme provides the opportunity to work directly with an industrial partner and to link students’ research to important retail and ‘open data’ sources. The project titles are devised by retailers and are open to students from a wide range of disciplines. Click on the title above for examples of projects completed previously.

Chair of the Open Data User Group appointed

The Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, has appointed Heather Savory as the chair of the Open Data User Group (ODUG). Heather has a background in high-technology businesses and strong strategic and governance experience of central government, entrepreneurial businesses, and consulting.Read Francis Maude and Heather Savory’s comments on the appointed here: www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/news/chair-open-data-user-group-appointed An introductory event was held on 14th June in order to launch the recruitment of ODUG members, MRS and CGG representatives attended and contributed to discussions on the next steps for the Group. The slides and responses to earlier consultations can be found on the MRS website.

Free Open Data Masterclasses

People across Great Britain are being given the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of open data and the tools and techniques to use open datasets, through a series of free masterclasses hosted by Ordnance Survey.  For more information and dates please visit:

Free Our Data - Guardian Report

Free data for personal and commercial use announced in the biggest shakeup in the Ordnance Survey's 260-year history. You can now download maps as detailed as 1:10,000 scale, or collect a list of locations appearing on maps at the 1:50,000 scale, or a conversion system for postcodes to grid references.

GeoPlace website

GeoPlace is a Limited Liability Partnership jointly owned by the Local Government Group and Ordnance Survey. It brings together local government’s address and streets gazetteers; the NLPG and the NSG, with all of Ordnance Survey’s addressing products to create a ‘national address gazetteer database’ for England and Wales, providing one definitive source of accurate publicly-owned spatial address data

Government Policy Paper on an Open National Address Gazetteer

An independent review for Government on the feasibility of an Open Address Gazetteer, published by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills on 13 February, 2014, following the case presented by the Open Data User Group. The review has determined that open usage would result in substantial and valuable growth in new usage with even greater community benefit. The recommendation is that a basic address product should be free to all users at the point of use under the Open Government Licence, while premium versions would still be sold, leaving current production and maintenance facilities in place.

More accessible and transparent public data for business growth

Ministers at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and Cabinet Office have appointed Chairs to the Data Strategy Board and Public Data Group.
Together, the new appointments will be responsible for maximising the value of public sector data. This includes making data more accessible and transparent in the four Trading Funds which make up the Public Data Group: Ordnance Survey, the Met Office, Land Registry and Companies House.
The Data Strategy Board is a new Advisory Body set up to maximise value for data users across the UK, primarily from data that the Public Data Group (PDG) Trading Funds hold. It will also advise government on how best to prioritise investment in data and services for public sector use and to expand the opportunities for starting and growing a business in the UK.

MRS response to the OFCOM consultation on the Postcode Address File

MRS have published their response to the Ofcom consultation on the Postcode Address File (PAF). View it here:

National Address Gazetteer for England and Wales

The government announced the creation of a National Address Gazetteer (NAG) in December 2010, and MRS have published a synopsis describing activity by MRS to get the best possible deal from this potentially key input for marketing and geodemographic applications. The synopsis contains links to information about NAG, and to a discussion forum with a case by members of the MRS Census and Geodemographic Group that elements of NAG should be free-to-use open data.

New funding to accelerate benefits of open data

A press release issued by the Department for Business Innovation & Skills on 12th December 2012 confirmed that more than £8 million of investment will help public bodies release data so that companies can develop new commercial opportunities. The funding runs to 2015 and was announced by Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude and Business and Skills Minister Matthew Hancock. Read the full press release here:

Office of Fair Trading Press Release

OFT clears national addressing database joint venture

Office of Fair Trading Report

OFT has published a report on the anticipated national address gazetteer joint venture between Ordnance Survey and Local Government Improvement and Development

On the Value of Digital Traces for Commercial Strategy and Public Policy: Telecommunications Data as a Case Study

This paper by Rob Claxton, jon Reades, and Ben Anderson discusses the study of UK regions, comparing the "geographies of talk” to their administrative counterparts, before turning to the ways in which social networks reflect underlying problems of deprivation and of access to opportunity. 

Open data user group issues call for open data requests

The Open Data User Group (ODUG) has called on developers and the open data community to submit requests for the release of data they believe will have commercial and social benefits and contribute to economic growth. Anyone with an interest in accessing public sector information can submit a request to the ODUG using a new online form.

Open Data User Group Response to the Ofcom Postcode Address File (PAF) Consultation

The Open Data User Group (ODUG) have published their response to the Ofcom Postcode Address File (PAF) Consultation via their Chair Heather Savory's blog piece - Don't sell our postcodes! ODUG on why we should have Open Addressing in the UK

Open data user group to help unleash the potential of open data

The first meeting of the Open Data User Group (ODUG) was held on 10th July 2012. This was hailed by Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office, as another important step in the Government's open data revolution. The group will advise the Government on what public sector data it believes will have the greatest economic and social benefits for the UK and should therefore be released as open data.
The names of the 13 members of the ODUG have also been revealed. They comprise open experts drawn from the worlds of business (including a significant SME representation as well as large national companies such as Sainbury's and Experian), civil socieity, academia and local government.
There was an overwhelming response to the open recruitment process by which the membership was selected, with over 75 applications received from the broad data-user community.
Read the full press release here.

Open data: Unlocking innovation and performance with liquid information

This report from McKinsey & Co shows how open data can help create $3 trillion a year of economic value across seven sectors globally. The seven sectors are Education, Transportation, Consumer products, Electricity, Oil and Gas, Health Care and Consumer Finance. The potential value is shown to be divided roughly between the USA ($1.1tn), Europe ($900bn) and the rest of the world ($1.7tn). The report is available in pdf, Kindle and eBook format. In a related podcast, the McKinsey Global Institute’s Michael Chui discusses the economic potential of open data and how governments and businesses can unlock it.

Plans to establish Open Data Institute published

Plans were published on 22nd May 2012 to establish an Open Data Institute in London.
The Open Data Institute (ODI), the first of its kind in the world, will become the 'go to' venue for those seeking to create new products, entrepreneurial opportunities and economic growth from open data.
The initial focus will be on incubating and nurturing new businesses exploiting open data for economic growth. The ODI will also promote innovation and help develop skills to drive business opportunities that use open data. The aim is for the ODI to be open for business by autumn 2012.
Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude said:
"We don't just want to lead the world in releasing government data - our aim is to make the UK an international role model in exploiting the potential of open data to generate new businesses and stimulate growth."
"The Open Data Institute is a big step towards this. Establishing a centre of excellence and expertise in the heart of technology start-ups will support the very best UK talents to innovate and drive value from the data this government is opening up."
The ODI will be co-directed by Professor Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Professor Nigel Shadbolt, and based in Shoreditch, East London. Developed with help from the government's innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board, the government has committed up to £10 million over five years to support the ODI. www.innovateuk.org

Preliminary 2011 England and Wales OAC

Through collaboration between the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and University College London (UCL), a new 2011 UK Output Area Classification (OAC) is being constructed using 2011 Census data.

Price Paid Data - Land Registry

On 30th April 2013 Land Registry announced that they plan to release a set of new Open Data including historical Houseprice index tables, historical Price Paid data and the 1862 Register. Read the Open Data Review here:

The Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) ruling on web scraping

Website operators can prohibit 'screen scraping' of unprotected data via terms and conditions, says EU court in a Ryanair case. The Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) ruled that website operators can set contractual restrictions that prohibit other businesses from 'scraping' information from their sites if they cannot otherwise rely on intellectual property rights giving them protection against unauthorised use of that data. Screen scraping involves the use of software to automatically collect information from websites and systems.

The Light of Other Days

This novel by Stephen Baxter and Arthur C Clark describes how a brilliant, driven industrialist harnesses the cutting edge of quantum physics to enable people everywhere, at trivial cost, to see one another at all times: around every corner, through every wall, into everyone's most private, hidden, and even intimate moments. It amounts to the sudden and complete abolition of human privacy--forever.

The Open Data Institute

The Open Data Institute is catalysing the evolution of open data culture to create economic, environmental, and social value. It helps unlock supply, generates demand, creates and disseminates knowledge to address local and global issues. Founded by Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Professor Nigel Shadbolt, the ODI is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan, limited by guarantee company.

The big data opportunity with Francis Maude - 3rd July 2012

The modern world generates a staggering quantity of data and the business of government is no exception. This event will explore the latest Policy Exchange research on how the public sector could make better use of big data and analytics to boost efficiency, reduce waste and improve public service delivery. It will also discuss the challenges of finding a balance between realising value from data and protecting civil liberties. Find out more about this event by visiting:

The Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) ruling on web scraping

Website operators can prohibit 'screen scraping' of unprotected data via terms and conditions, says EU court in a Ryanair case. The Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) ruled that website operators can set contractual restrictions that prohibit other businesses from 'scraping' information from their sites if they cannot otherwise rely on intellectual property rights giving them protection against unauthorised use of that data. Screen scraping involves the use of software to automatically collect information from websites and systems.

The National Address Gazetteer - Letter to Rt. Hon. Francis Maude MP

In January 2012 Keith Dugmore, Director of Demographics User Group (DUG) sent a letter to Rt. Hon. Francis Maude MP on behalf of the group, entitled; The National Address Gazetteer: being run in the interests of Ordnance Survey, to the detriment of citizens and the private sector.
View the letter on the MRS website

Tragedy of the Commons

The tragedy of the commons is an economic theory by Garrett Hardin, which states that individuals acting independently and rationally according to each's self-interest behave contrary to the best interests of the whole group by depleting some common resource. The term is taken from the title of an article written by Hardin in 1968, which is in turn based upon an essay by a Victorian economist on the effects of unregulated grazing on common land.

Where is the nearest bus stop? UK Department for Transport adds NaPTAN data to Open Street Map

24 August 2009 - The UK's Department for Transport (DfT) has recently released data from the National Public Transport Access Node (NaPTAN) database to be put on Open Street Map (OSM). The data contains details of some 350,000 public transport access points in Great Britain including bus stops, railway stations, tram stops and ferry terminals, and meaningful text descriptions of the stop point and its location.

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