NSW revamps open data repository

New version of data.nsw.gov.au follows state government’s commitment last year to open data

The New South Wales government has launched a revamped open data repository.

The new version of data.nsw.gov.au “is the single portal to access government data and the dashboard provides a new way for people to see what is available and how it can be used,” the state’s finance minister, Dominic Perrottet, said in a statement.

The site currently has 353 data sets listed. It also incorporates agency case studies and examples of applications that use government data.

“Open data has been embraced by tech gurus and developers alike and we are now seeing data from agencies like Transport for NSW receive up to 40 million requests per month,” Perrottet said. “Another good example of this is has been with the NSW State Records search API, which was accessed 17,229 times in May this year, compared to 7129 times for the same period last year.”

The new data.nsw.gov.au site is powered by the Open Knowledge Foundation’s open source CKAN software.

The NSW government last year announced that state agencies would operate under a regime of "open by default" for data sets.

The NSW Government Open Data Policy, states that agencies “start from a position of data openness, with the prerogative in favour of data release” unless there is a “specific, overriding” reason to not release data, in accordance with the NSW Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009.

That legislation states: "There is a presumption in favour of the disclosure of government information unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure."

Cases where data should not be subject to public release or released only in part includes data that may contain personal information, be subject to legal privilege, breach confidentiality requirements (such as contractual obligations) or where release of data would be against the public interest.

Under the policy data and their metadata are to be published online at data.nsw.gov.au in an "easily discoverable and searchable" format.

In April the state government launched strategy to encourage the use by the public and private sectors of geospatial datasets created by government agencies.

The NSW Location Intelligence Strategy aims to promote the creation and use of geospatial data, including by adding location information to key NSW economic, social and environmental datasets.

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