The Western Australian government has kicked off efforts to catch up with its fellow states when it comes to unlocking the economic and democratic value of public sector data stores.
WA, with geospatial agency Landgate at the helm, has aired the first draft of its inaugural open data policy, which entreats on agencies to make proactive data release their default position.
Geological information is big business in the state. Already this year the Department of Mining and Petroleum has injected 130 years of exploration data into its digital bedrock geology map, in an effort to attract miners to WA over its competing neighbours.
The state has also been grappling with issues of data and fairness in the distribution of information.
This week mining minister Bill Marmion announced that the DMP would begin releasing updates to mining tenements and licences as soon as they are entered into the DMP system, after discovering that companies including Rio Tinto and Fortescue had been using authorised user privileges to access an HTML stream of changes before their competitors.
The draft policy, which will be open for feedback until 6 March, will target all new data sets for release, and will ask that all new systems and system updates are designed with proactive data release in mind.
It has picked out the creative commons licensing structure as a good place to start, while acknowledging that some agencies might want to charge for higher value data sets or information that comes with a cost of publication.
It is aiming to make the policy reform budget neutral, stating that “there should be no or minimal cost to agencies in making data open and/or for people to access the data”.
It intends that all real-time information should be made available as a live feed where practical.