Bizwiki Blog

Bizwiki joins the call to ‘Free our data’

Bizwiki, the UK Business Wiki site founded on the principle of allowing users free access to edit, update and add data to business records, has joined the call to free access to parts of the data held by government departments.“We’ve seen just how much demand there is for relevant information online, to the degree that thousands of people have signed up over the last 12 months to help Bizwiki compile and improve records about local businesses across the country,’ said Matt Aird, co-founder of

‘What we are now asking is that the government move to make more taxpayer’s data available to them. In short, we believe that access to publicly acquired data should be free.’

‘Free access to public datasets would have a huge impact on usability and accuracy,’ added Keith Hinde, Chief Technical Architect for Bizwiki. ‘By cross referencing businesses people list on Bizwiki with Companies House data, we could provide a cleaner, deeper and more reliable dataset to end users, reducing the need for manual moderation or checking.’

‘Using PAF data, we could enhance usability and consistency with guided address editing or detailed validation’, he continued. ‘With access to the Ordnance Survey’s AddressPoint data, we could provide much more accurate plotting of businesses on maps, making it easier for customers to locate businesses and hopefully reducing the time spent driving around trying to locate a particular business.’

Agencies ranging from the Ordnance Survey to the Highways Agency are either government-owned or receive large portions of their income from the public sector or taxpayer, but charge for data with exacting copyright restrictions that prevent or hamper re-use of the data.

Following in the footsteps of the Guardian Technology’s drive for free public access to data about the UK and its citizens and organisations such as INSPIRE’s campaign ‘State-collected Geographic Data is public property’, Bizwiki is joining the argument in favour of liberating public access to non-confidential company and mapping data.

‘If there is one thing that the growth of the business on the internet has shown us, it’s that there are tremendous benefits to making more data available to people for free,’ concluded Matt Aird.

For more information about Bizwiki, the free business wiki that anyone can edit, see more information about INSPIRE, see more information about The Guardian’s Free our Data Campaign

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