… London’s Toilet Info

May 3, 2011 at 2:32 pm 2 comments

more London-centric blogging, sorry…


The Greater London Authority have been reinvestigating the state of London’s loos.

Before they write their report they would like to hear your thoughts on Toilet Data.

The GLA will be asking the London borough councils, nicely, to provide clear, complete, consistent information on their public toilet facilities, and in a common format, so that it can be re-used by absolutely anyone to make London-wide maps and toilet-finding applications and websites.

This would be a big improvement compared to now where the info is fractured across 33 council websites.

When it exists.

Which it frequently doesn’t.

Consequently they have been working on what this common format should be. They need to know what data the councils should include (e.g. location, opening times, type of facilities, access restrictions…) and how the data should be formatted.

The data-formatting stuff is beyond my geekiness so I’m leaving that to the developer-types, so long as happy compromises can be met between simplicity of data (“Opening Times: MON-SUN 0900-1800”) and the messiness of the real world (“public toilets will be open on market days (every 2nd Saturday) until half an hour after sunset”) 

So, are you a toilet enthusiast, local government worker (who would need to put the data file together) or, what am I saying…, member of the public?

Would you like to comment on what information should be included?

What information would be useful for you to know?

What stops you from finding or using public toilets now?

If so, then you can have a look at the GLA’s blog post here or go straight to the Google Doc file here
(which can be edited by absolutely anyone *worried look*)  to see what has been suggested already and have your say!

Unless you’re a data enthusiast I’d recommend just reading the first column of the Google file. Less scary.

Or you can just comment here or email me at gail.knight@network.rca.ac.uk and I’ll make sure to tell them.

It may only be London, but this is the first toilet data standard that exists in the Whole World (made-up fact) so there’s no reason why it won’t be adopted (or slightly improved upon with experience, you’d hope) by other councils and countries.

Important stuff, toilet-wise.

Deadline is May 13th!


Entry filed under: Information Design, Open Data. Tags: , , , .

… Oxford Street … Ordnance Survey’s Reply

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Paul Byford  |  May 3, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    Hi Gail,

    I had a look at the document and quickly retreated as it’s a bit tech-y but the idea looks promising. I hope that they will encourage local government to include data on toilets that they do not provide themselves (whether directly or through a CTS). I’m thinking of shopping centres, bus stations, parks and gardens not run by the council, and so on. Linked to this, I would hope that there would be a facility for the public to “add a toilet” as other sites allow. This would be particularly important in boroughs (like my own dear Merton) where there is little or no council provision.

    Thanks for raising awareness of this part the GLA consultation- it would have passed me by otherwise.

    Best wishes, Paul

  • 2. Gail Knight  |  May 4, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    Thanks Paul. Yet again an excellent point that needs raising so I’ll make sure to pass it on.

    There’s no good Merton etc justifying not providing public toilets because so many pseudo-public ones exist, if they don’t back this up by doing something useful like provide details are where they are.


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