Chris Taggart is one of the main energy bundles behind real practical progress in open data in the UK. besides starting to scrape local government websites to create the the remarkable openlylocal, and then casually setting up open charities (open data for information about charities) he has also been working on making information about business more freely available,
Open Corporates – he tells me – has reached quite a milestone:
A few hours ago, OpenCorporates tipped over the 20 million companies mark (with information on 40 million statutory filings too). Traffic is doubling roughly every 3 months, and all without VC backing.
We’re pretty pleased with all this, and couldn’t have done this without the open data community, who’ve helped with writing scrapers, giving advice and generally being there for us.
Open Corporates not only makes it easy for us to find out who owns what and how much profit they make, it allows us to groups companies, so we can see relationships begin to emerge. So for example you can help list the companies that form part of the Birmingham City Football club
family of companies.
Why am I telling you this? Because it is important for us to recognise that individuals or groups of independent minded people are making significant progress is making our public life more Transparent. they are no longer alone – they are starting to see some government help, in the UK, USA and the EU and charitable trusts are also growing their interest in how open data bolsters democracy.
But just for today I’d like to say congrats on 20 million companies – that’s is some achievement.
Yesterday I spent the afternoon at Hyperlocal Govcamp West Midlands, a gathering of hyperlocal bloggers, local government officials, and people involved in open data.
The final session of the afternoon focused on what bloggers wanted from council officials. The subject itself says a lot about just how the power relationship between communications professionals and hyperlocal bloggers has changed.
As one attendee from a police authority commented: “We have to treat questions from members of the public in the same way as from the press.” The ability to publish is no longer unique. Forget about citizen journalists – we are all citizens now.
A distributed, engaged audience
Indeed, Dan Slee from Walsall Council – a former print journalist with the local paper – noted the difference between the numbers of readers Read more