I wrote this post for Life | Art | Us on 15 May 2011. Click on the link at the bottom to read the full post.
Liz Turner from iconomical has been involved in some really quite good public service open data projects in the last few years, including Where does my money go?, Research funding explorer and the London Gazette.
Each of these projects ticks the boxes of a good open data project. They make non-personal public information more accessible online, they visualise data to make it easier to understand and they enable audiences to interrogate data in different ways and find out more. You can drill down into the detail of specific data sets (say, by a topic or region), you can look at broader trends over time and you can filter data to find out more about a specific interest area.
A voyage of discovery
Liz says that when you’re dealing with large volumes of data and opening it up, such as public spending accounts or public transport data, one of the most exciting things is that you never quite know what you’re going to find. So, these kind of projects are always in part, a voyage of discovery and data owners and audiences have to be prepared to find surprises along the way. Sounds interesting right?