Over the past couple weeks I’ve been experimenting, creating search functionality based on local public services.
So far I’ve used data from Elgin, Environment Agency, Food Standard Agency, Job Centre Plus, NHS Direct, Ofsted and West Berkshire Council to create alpha.westberks.gov.uk.
The idea is not to create another Google, that's a mistake some make when building new search functionality, but bring put together an easy way to access lots of disparate local data and link back to it. It displays text based results and where there’s geo-data against the record, displays it on a map too.
Try searching for stuff like “doctors in newbury” or “rivers in pangbourne” and you’ll get results back. Some of the information returned, particularly things like live flood warning information isn't the sort of stuff you get in a Google search but is something many residents might expect their council to provide, even if it's not managed by them.
Because I’ve used national data, it will work for anywhere in the country but there’s a long way before it’s anywhere near that stage. I still need to add much more local data like leisure centres, schools, car parks and so on. The text results need pagination too.
I’d appreciate feedback on whether this is the right direction to go, can think of other datasets to include, or any other thoughts you have on it. You can find me at https://twitter.com/PhilRumens.