Understanding and working with Open Data

10th October 2011

A few weeks ago I attended my first ever AGI GeoCommunity Event held at the EMCC, Nottingham University.

During this extremely enjoyable event I presented some of the work that I’ve recently been involved in relating to Open Data. The paper titled “Methods for processing, analysing and visualising Open Data within a Geographic Information System”.

This paper is a reasonably practical outline for anyone interested in working with or using Open Data.

The abstract for the session was as follows:

With the continued trend of making public data openly available from numerous sites such as data.gov.uk and the London Datastore there is an opportunity of leveraging this data to answer spatial related queries and visualise this data geographically.

This presentation will outline some suggested methods, detailing the tools and analysis required, for taking data from its raw form and how they can be processed and combined with geographic datasets for use in GIS applications. The methodology will suggest ways to find data of interest, how to download, manipulate and prepare it for use in a GIS, combine it with geographic data such as the Ordnance Survey Boundary-Line™ Data or the Office for National Statistics Census Areas and then analyse the data. The presentation will then describe different options for disseminating this information whether the end user is a power, web or mobile user.

Examples of the wealth of Open Data currently available and how they can be used in the real world to benefit society will be shown. Additionally, the presentation will discuss how to combine and use Open Data with readymade base mapping but also create your own bespoke base using the Ordnance Survey Open data products following careful consideration of cartography and visualisation techniques.