.. The Great British Public Toilet Map, Take 3.

May 12, 2014 at 5:16 pm 2 comments

Last October we were awarded £20 000 from the Nominet Trust to develop The Great British Public Toilet Map (@GBToiletMap).

The Great British Public Toilet Map, at http://greatbritishpublictoiletmap.rca.ac.uk

The Great British Public Toilet Map, at http://greatbritishpublictoiletmap.rca.ac.uk

The following video was made for the application and explains our project in 2 minutes – click to watch ..

 

We began work in March and will work on the map for 6 months. As I am on maternity leave, the project lead is the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design‘s Senior Research Fellow and Toilet Enthusiast, Jo-Anne Bichard, while the design ideas, data collection and day-to-day work has been embraced by Research Assistants and (soon to be graduating) MA students, Elizabeth Raby and Billie Muraben. Meanwhile, Neontribe are figuring out how to make it all work.

In brief, we aim to add A LOT more toilets. The existing site is little more than a prototype, consisting of data for a handful of London boroughs, a few other councils, National Rail Enquiries and Transport for London, the latter of which is four years out-of-date to my eternal frustration.

We also aim to improve the information about each toilet, since at the moment we have opening hours, wheelchair accessibility info and baby-changing info.

Therefore, we (.. and by ‘we’ I mean Lizzie, Billie and Neontribe) are:

  • Trawling council websites for public and community toilet details
  • Sending Freedom of Information requests when the info is missing or poor
  • Importing the 4000-odd toilet locations from OpenStreetMap (OSM)
  • Developing a means for the public and councils to add/amend entries, in order to crowd-source for data, to make it more reliable and complete
  • Developing a means for all this extra info to be added back into OSM
  • Redesigning the interface so that all these extra toilets and info can be seen and understood easily

..as well as a million other things that will help us to provide a useful, sustainable website by the autumn for everyone to benefit from.

I will try to blog about things as they develop, such as our massive FOI efforts (I believe the East Midlands are winning for the most replies), our upcoming paper-prototyping, and the licensing headache that is starting to emerge.

However, we met up with Harry and Rupert form Neontribe on May 1st and got very excited to have our first big toilet/data conversation for a very long time.

With such loo-mapping enthusiasm in the room, only good can come of this.

 

 

 

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

.. Open Data Councils – part 3 .. Freedom of Information

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