Here’s a synopsis of my (@pacharanero) pitch, made at the first The Deal Hackathon, at Leigh Hackspace, 5th-6th March 2016.
- there is a lot of open data about Wigan Borough, but often it is not in a suitable format for consuming by applications (eg mobile apps, web apps, IoT etc) - in order to be in an easily consumable format it should be provided as a REST API, serving the data as JSON.
- Usually the open data we have is provided as CSV, which is reasonably structured (and is computable to a limited degree). Other open data might be in PDF or HTML formats, which is much harder to make computable.
- Users of data, such as app developers, or the Wigan Council Joint Intelligence Unit (JIU) would often want to look up and correlate data across multiple data sets, usually for a particular geographical area. This would mean looking up the postcode areas of interest against the first data set, then doing the same for all other data sets.
- If you are trying to bring together a ‘dashboard’ of open data, this could mean looking up the same postcode reference against 10 or more data sets, possibly all in different formats, and manually collate the information.
- If we could encourage most Wigan Council open data to be published as a CSV (or convert/extract from existing formats into a CSV), then we could use a simple API wrapper to server the CSV data as JSON
- There is already open source code that converts CSV to JSON ( https://github.com/project-open-data/csv-to-api ) although this converts the entire CSV file to JSON, so would require tweaking so that it responded with just the target data requested.
- This ‘CSV to JSON API’ layer would make subsequent development of a JIU ‘dashboard’ for postcode level data much easier.
- This idea didn’t get picked up by a team on the day, and although I had intended to have a little go at it myself, I was busy with running the Hackathon and helping out Wigan Youth Cabinet with their online productivity apps (see other Project)
- I have a good idea how I would set up a simple version or proof of concept of this, and perhaps we could work on it at a future Hackathon!