Data Sources

Governments collect and store vast amounts of data about pretty much every aspect of life.  You name it, there’s likely to be some great information in a government database somewhere. The trouble is that often people outside of Government have some of the best ideas about how you could take different bits of that data, put them together and create something new and valuable.

There are now a growing number of these “mashup” initiatives creating new services, often with simple tools and the energy and ingenuity of people and communities keen to solve a problem or create an opportunity. We want you to show us what you can do with better access to re-usable public data and plenty of imagination by creating mashups using Australia Government data.

Finding Government Datasets

To make this task easier, we have arranged for the release of data from over 15 different agencies as well as State and Territory Governments (including the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Northern Territory, South Australia, Queensland and Victoria) on licensing terms that permit mashups. You can find these datasets on the new “beta” data directory on

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In addition to these datasets, there are other Government datasets out there released under licenses or in formats that enable mashups. Some of the more significant data collections that you can look at include:

The Australian Bureau of Statistics provides a wide range of data on a variety of topics relating to our economy and society and unless otherwise specified, data sets on the ABS website are licensed under a Creative Common Attribution 2.5 Australia license. Some of the more popular ABS datasets include:

A number of Government cultural institutions publish their photograph collections under a “no known copyright “ identifier on Flickr Commons including:

The National Library of Australia provides a number of programmatic services to query their multiple catalogues, which include:

This does not give you access to the Library’s digitised images but it does give you access to the description of these images and other related metadata as explained further on the National Library’s Digital Object Repository help page.

There are, of course, many other Government datasets that are published in a way that permits re-use and we look forward to you uncovering some hidden gems for us!

Additional Transformation Challenge – Opening Up Government Data Sets

Some of the datasets on are being released for the first time to support MashupAustralia, and most of them are in easy to use formats. For those datasets that have been supplied in less common formats we have decided to publish them anyway and issue a second challenge.

If you can build a mashup using one or more of these datasets and in the process open up the data source and enhance it and/or transform it into a more reuseable format, you may be eligible for a “Transformation Challenge” bonus prize. To be considered for a bonus prize, you must provide programatic access by publishing the data in a reusable format (e.g. RDF, XML, JSON, KML) or make it available via an API or webservice. You may also be eligible for a bonus prize if you significantly enhance the dataset by improving it’s metadata or structure to enrich the datasource and increase its value.

Most of the datasets can benefit from metadata and/or structural enhancement but some examples of datasets that could benefit from being made more open include: will be updated with additional datasets as they are received, so check back regularly or monitor the latest datasets feed.

The Fine Print

You should exercise your own judgement regarding your use of datasets linked to on and and you should carefully evaluate their accuracy, currency, completeness and relevance to your mashup.  You should also take the time to understand the licensing arrangements for these datasets – most of them are covered by a Creative Commons license, but there may be some variations. If you are using Government or non-Government datasets you have found for yourself please make sure you understand and respect their licensing terms.

Datasets are provided on an “as-is” basis and we can’t offer any updates or technical support for them. In the spirit of Web 2.0 we would encourage you to take up our challenge to improve some of the datasets by opening them up and make use of the many technical support forums available on the web to share and discuss any problems you encounter in building mashups.

Of course we welcome your feedback about and and will pass on any feedback about the datasets to the agencies that own them.

Lastly, be careful out there and have fun building your mashups!