Source code repository service GitHub has just introduced government.github.com. This sub domain of GitHub is dedicated to the storage and distribution of open data provided by governments around the world.
Developers can take and fork this code from the repository and implement in their own apps to benefit the public. While the logos above show US-based organisations, our own Australian Government Open Data initiative (#gov2au) should consider using GitHub.
In Government there’s a lot of discussion around cutting down on waste and spending. One area that often goes unnoticed is the duplication of time, effort and cost that occurs as the same code is written by government employees who often have to work within state lines. If developers were encouraged to open source their basic code, simply projects and share it on a service like GitHub, we could remove a lot of the duplication while helping young budding independent developers achieve builds faster.
If you’ve never visited http://data.gov.au/ then please take some time to visit. It’s an amazing resource that currently has 531 datasets published in a variety of formats. Providing the data is tier 1, the tier 2 needs to be sharing and collaborating on projects to eliminate wasteful duplication wherever possible.
Sometimes laws dictate that content is varied state-by-state, that’s fine, but if creating an app becomes as easy as opening what the NSW government produce, inputting the VIC government values and publishing a version for Victorians, then that’s a fantastic use of resources and a dramatic improvement over the current situation.