Archive for September, 2014
It never rains but it pours..
I’m still catching up on everything that’s happened in the past year, but it seems that Ordnance Survey are opening up their toilet data!
Or to be very, very, specific..
“..recently we have enabled our IP to be used in an open data release of one council’s toilet data, and if any others approach us for releasing toilet data this is likely to be on the same terms”
It’s great that OS have recognised that open toilet data is in the public interest and personally I think they deserve a really big hug.
Past posts on the OS saga:
BIG NEWS in the search for local council toilet data.
After years of emailing councils requesting open data about their toilets, it is now suddenly being published, in bulk, in a useful format.
22 datasets have already passed ‘technical review’ in the last couple of months, with 80+ in the pipeline!
22 is already about as much as I managed in 3 years…
But how? (quick answer – the Local Government Association asked them to)
and why? (quick answer – they’re paying them)
In February 2013 I made a formal request for public toilet location data via data.gov.uk.
The Open Data User Group took up this request – cogs whirred, people in meetings said ‘Toilets!”, plans were developed (OK so I don’t know the details..) and the Local open data incentive scheme was born, with public toilets as one of the three datasets it would focus on.
Managed by the Local Government Association (LGA), the Local open data incentive scheme offers up to £7000 to councils if they publish open data about key themes in a consistent format.
The current themes are public toilets, planning applications and licensing of premises. They get £2000 per theme and a bonus £1K if they do all three.
Approved data will be collated and will also appear on data.gov.uk for people to use and make maps and find toilets etc. etc.
Thank you people who made this happen for taking the request seriously, not overlooking the unsexy topic of public loos and spending your money to get better information about a vital public service.
On Friday 5th September I gave the Open Data Institute‘s weekly Lunchtime Lecture about The Great British Public Toilet Map.
You can listen again/flick through the slides to my talk ‘Excuse me, where is the toilet (data)?‘
The ODI have also written a blog post to summarise it, ‘How open data can help us all to find the toilet‘
Thank you, ODI, for inviting me to do this.