Free Our Data: the blog

A Guardian Technology campaign for free public access to data about the UK and its citizens

How the Danes get it right with address data

In today’s Guardian, Mike Cross writes about how Denmark has shown that pooling public data can be done – easily:

The server’s owner, the National Agency for Enterprise and Construction, also licenses bulk data to commercial re-users, such as estate agents and finance businesses.

About 15 commercial users pay an annual subscription of about £5,000 and then about 10p per megabyte, which the government says is the marginal cost of connecting them and supplying data.

Before 2003, commercial users had to request individual property details, at a fee of about 50p each. Under the new arrangements, demand for data has soared, says Ulrik Roehl of the agency.

“When we started, we thought there might be around 10 distributors, but we exceeded that in two years,” he says. The distributors download about 65m property details a month.

Reducing charges encourages takeup? Simple supply and demand, of course. And within government, there are no charges.

We’re looking for more foreign examples so we can begin to make the point to government. Anyone else pitch in on how other countries do it?

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