Defra recently announced that it had easily met its original target for publishing over 8000 of its datasets as open data, that’s data that anyone can access, use and share. As of 25th June Defra and its ‘arms length bodies’ have published 11,007 open data sets, representing more than a third of the Government’s open data. Defra data is extremely wide ranging in its scope from flood levels and water quality to food consumption and LiDAR.
Of course making data open means enabling people to find it in the first place, which is where metadata (data about data) comes in. Metadata on its own is not very useful unless you can provide access to it, which is where Catalog Service for the Web (CSW) comes in. This provides a standards-compliant interface to discover, browse, and query metadata. If you have a CSW search tool, which most GIS software does, you can find, explore and then use that data.
Here at Astun we are proud to say that we have played a significant role in this data revolution by hosting and providing the metadata catalogue service for many of the datasets that Defra has released.
Defra will be publishing some use case studies on its own #OpenDefra DataMarket blog in the coming weeks.