It’s not just the Guardian that are fighting for ‘Free Our Data’. Ernest Marples set up a site offering postcode data for free, sourcing the data from Free The Postcode and utilising them in two key (free) services, PlanningAlerts.com and Jobcentre Pro Plus. Both services targeted at making public services more accessible and geographically relevant.
Ernest Marples got a cease and desist request from Royal Mail (the controllers of the postcodes in the UK), since they’re in breach of copyright and numerous other licenses for using it in the way they are. So the service has been shut down and they’ve now launched a campaign to petition for Royal Mail to create a new (free of charge) license for use of the postcode data for non-profit purposes. This new license, if created, would help give developers of free services (like myself) the opportunity to provide more geographically-relevant data to UK users.
What can you do to help?
I’ve done my bit, by both signing the petition and writing to my MP – (Shailesh Vara, Concervative MP for North West Cambridgeshire).