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.

Using free tools to survey community groups and then perhaps combining that with open data. An example from BOSF, part 2


BOSF website

A few weeks ago we were working with Birmingham Open Spaces Forum to look at how they were collecting data and introduced them to Google Forms. Recently we returned to see how they were getting on and what we could help them with next.
As a group they were looking to collect information on their members income, How much they’d raised and where it had come from. Since we saw them 10 of their groups have filled in their questionnaire, so we began by looking at how they could display this.

We started by creating a separate sheet in google docs so that we could calculate the totals without disturbing the data that had already been collected – or confusing any future responses. They had columns for the different places they thought groups would be collection income from. Grants, fundraising, donations, etc. To be able to turn this into graphs we had to rearranges this so the titles were in rows – with the total amounts next to it. Like this:

BOSF Questionairre Spreadsheet

BOSF Spreadsheet


Once we were there we could use Google’s built in ability to create charts to display the data. We selected the cells with the data we wanted to display  and clicked on the create chart button .

Insert Graph Google Speadsheets


This opened up a screen that allowed us to select the type of chart we wanted to use, and edit the labels and titles.

Google Spreadsheet Charts

Once created you can place your graphic on to your spreadsheet, Save it to a separate tab in your spreadsheet, or save and download the image.

BOSF opted to go with the bar chart:

— BOSF (@BhamOpenSpaces) March 6, 2015


They are going to use this graphic to prompt more of their member groups to respond to the questionnaire, because if just 10 groups could have bought over £176,000 into the city – what have they done as a collective?

Combining this with Open Data

Once we’d finished helping BOSF display their own data we turned our brains towards how they could use open data to support their work.

For me the most obvious thing to begin with was Multiple Indicies of Deprivation . If BOSF have already evidenced they have bought £176k into the city, what areas was that money being spent in. Were the responding groups serving areas of deprivation?

What if they looked at the different domains of the deprivation map, are they bringing money into, and supporting areas of the city with poor Health for instance?

depivation mapper

The other thing we considered looking at was the police crime data. What records do the police hold on crimes in and around  the parks and open space the groups serve, What does this say about the effectiveness of friends groups? Is there more crime because there are more people around to report it? Or less because there are more people that care about the area?

They’re going to have a look at some of these things once their data collection is complete.

Created under the Open Government License

Created under the Open Government License

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>