I reported last year that UK government made a commitment to release majority of its spatial information collected and maintained by the Ordnance Survey for free public use. The first set of data, including raster maps and vector topographic information, is now available for download. Ordnance Survey has always been a model national mapping agency with very efficient system in place to produce high quality and up to date spatial information for the UK. Til recently it operated on fully commercial basis and now is quickly catching up with “open access” initiatives.
Australia has also opted for open access approach. However, after initial enthusiasm surrounding gov2.0 taskforce and initiatives such as MashupAustralia aiming at unlocking volts of government spatial and non-spatial data things have slowed down to a standstill. The biggest achievement so far is adoption of Creative Commons licensing by many government agencies but access to data have not improved dramatically. No new data has been added to data.australia.gov.au catalogue since January although it is good to see that NSW and Victorian governments followed with similar initiatives.