A site about how community groups and charities can make the most of data and open data to do something useful. Focused on Birmingham, relevant everywhere.

SpeedData: Matthew Somerville

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We’ve already heard from Matthew Somerville of MySociety, who has introduced us to some of the websites that he has been involved in.

These include:

Mapumental, which is a site where house prices and travel information feed into an interactive map.

A map rating places on how scenic they are

He also metioned a site that allows you to search all planning applications.

You can find more MySociety projects here.

You can find out more, also, at  his own site where a lot of his projects are.

Matthew talked about how there are lots of boundaries currently around getting at data :

  • It’s licensed
  • It’s not in consistent formats
  • It is just not available or difficult to find

He often has to scrape data, which is difficult and time consuming. Matthew says it would be much better if in the future all public data – as a result of the Freedom of Information act, would be available in a single, consistent data set.

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