Does Your #OpenData Engage The Public? #opendata #data #information

It’s been a bit of an open data week really. I have one final question….. is the data (we) have going engage the public? I’m not talking about developers and “the suits” but the public, Joseph and Josephine Bloggs going about their day to day business.

How Busy Is Dublin, Like Right Now?

And just as I was having this thought my attention was made aware to a site called Is Dublin Busy?


Let’s get past it looks nice, the important part here is data in action. It’s useful, informative and it’s using open data. And right now anyone with an internet connection  could look up the site and see what the capacity of my favourite car park is.


Better than that I can also see:

  • Live Traffic Cameras
  • Dublin Bike Availability
  • M50 Journey Times

Couple that with some analysis of historical footfall figures the site informs, statistically, the best day and time to shop.

The Importance of Real Time Data

The issue is the availability of real time data. Without it the site would be pretty useless to anyone. The availability of open data is fine as a starting point but the availability of real time open data is another. And this is not me starting a rant about not knowing where a Translink bus or train is.

For organisations perhaps it’s time to sit down and think about how to publish out real time data on your services. Whether that’s buses, trains, car parks, public toilets….. doesn’t really matter. The fact that it exists and is available though, that does matter.

So Huskies Do Data

The company that put the site together, In The Company Of Huskies, have done a great job. Now I’ve no idea if it was a paid piece or they just done it off their own back but there’s a good number of lessons that any developer and data head could learn.

Defining the Data Story

Want to do your own, fair enough but consider these real quick points.

  1. What message/information are you trying to convey? Who’s the audience?
  2. What data do you need and, more to the point, is it open and easily available?
  3. Can you build it? If not, do know someone who can help?


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