IBM helps Kent residents create their own mashups

future web 2.0 pic

Kent County Council is using IBM's new version of its Mashup Centre to help residents mix, match and make sense of data.

Unveiled at IBM's Information on Demand conference in Las Vegas, the new Mashup Centre takes in 570 different information feeds, analyses them, and shares the result online so that residents can access the data.

For example, if someone wanted to relocate within Kent, they could create a mashup showing information such as taxation and school enrolment levels, or the number of doctors who were accepting new patients.

From there they can display a map online, share this with other residents, and get feedback.

"You have all this information at Kent County that citizens need and can benefit from, and [the council] want to provide that as a service based set of feeds," said Mark Heid, programme director for Info 2.0 business at IBM information management. "The mashup environment gives these citizens a way to consume that."

"Self service for citizens is part of the picture here. Business intelligence can come into play because if you have this going on with citizens, then you can infer what's going on and get abstract conclusions on what they need," he added.

Heid used an example of a recycling service that was installed in Kent County. The council wanted to inform citizens that it was easy to recycle and show how it should be done, as well as spark a bit of competition by comparing it to recycling programmes in neighbouring counties. This was all possible by creating a mashup that featured such information.

He said: "You institute a little sense of competition, you get people talking to each other encouraging each other to recycle, and there's this viral uptake based on this being available to people."

He claimed that the government was looking closely at Kent's scheme as a pilot, for possible use in other counties.