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GDS makes fresh push on open standards



Government makes proposal for emergency responses and calls for ideas on online vacancies, location points and property and place information

The Government Digital Service has floated a proposal on open standards to support emergency services when they have to share information to deal with an incident.

It is part of a fresh effort to promote the adoption of open standards in government, which has also taken in a call for ideas on standards that could be adopted for use in publishing vacancies online, exchanging property and place information, and exchanging information about location points.

The plans have been promoted in a Technology Team blogpost that points anyone making a contribution towards the Standards Hub.

It says the proposal for a multi-agency incident transfer standard, which has been published as an XML schema, would enable emergency services to share information more easily. This could shorten response times, make agencies quicker in logging crucial information and highlight hazards in any responses.

It would cover users from a range of organisations defined by the Civil Contingencies Act 2004, and is open for comment until 17 July.

Machine readable

The job vacancies standard would feed into providing information in machine readable formats that could help job seekers running advanced searches; while the location point standard would help users to choose different map providers and exchange information.

The call for a standard to support property or place address information reflects the lack of a canonical form for an address in government data, whereby there are no rules as to whether it should include the borough, county or country.

The GDS has called for responses by 27 July.

The government adopted a set of principles for open standards in November 2012 and followed up by publishing a series of ‘challenges’ a year later, then placing an emphasis on the use of open document formats and HTML.

Open document standards will be mandatory only in central government, but other public bodies will be strongly encouraged to adopt them.

Image: W.Rebel under GNU Free Documentation Licence through Wikimedia




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