Open Access News

News from the open access movement


Friday, April 20, 2007

The high cost of not making public information OA

Michael Cross, Bad maps are key factor in farming fiasco, The Guardian, April 19, 2007.  Excerpt:

One accusation we face at Technology Guardian's Free Our Data campaign is that public sector information is a minority interest. Why should any normal person, let alone a busy government minister, be interested in subjects like free access to geospatial information?

A simmering political row over a fiasco that cost English farmers 20m and a senior civil servant his job may move the issue up the agenda.  The National Farmers' Union said this week that geographical information was a key factor in the latest fiasco involving government IT....

Maps printed from the Land Register were sent to every farmer claiming subsidy to check. According to Julie Robinson, a lawyer with the National Farmers' Union, this is where the system went wrong. "Many of the maps sent back to farmers to check turned out to be seriously inaccurate." ...

Freely available mapping data might not have prevented the rural payments fiasco - but it would have given all parties more warning that it was coming....