Open data for everyone

Ying-Chih Lin

Ying-Chih Lin

At MyNestBox we ingest a lot of data. We clean that data, process it, and make it fit for our purposes. But where that data comes from in the first place can often be a bit of a mystery. A lot of the raw data we source is “open” data provided by the government. Green belt maps, radon levels, population information and more is all published by the government, paid for by taxpayers and made “open” for everyone’s benefit.

But just because data is “open” doesn’t make it easy to find. The government data portal does exist, but it doesn’t really seem to help you find what you’re looking for (believe me, we’ve tried).

In order to contribute in some small way to the geospatial community, we thought it might be a nice idea to curate a table of open data sources we use in a way that we would find useful if we were starting again from scratch.

Our open data page lists out the open data sources we currently monitor and ingest to power MNB Assess, our service offering initial site assessment reports for new-build developments.

For each data source we use, we’ve listed out the name of the organisation responsible for publishing the data, a brief description of what each data contains, a link to download the data from the source and, importantly, a handy button to make copying and pasting the correct attribution text into your own applications a breeze.

This is an experiment for us. If you find it useful, please let us know and share it with your (geospatial data nerd) friends. We’ve stuck pretty closely to the data sources we’ve used ourselves and can vouch for, but that doesn’t mean we view this as some kind of exclusive almanac of MNB-only open data. If people find this sort of thing useful, we’d be happy to expand it to encompass more open geospatial data. If you have an idea for a data set to add please get in touch.

Or is this a terrible idea for reasons we haven’t thought of? Heaven knows some of our advisors think we’re letting the open data cat out of the open data bag, but we know that valuable data science is about much more than just serving lists of public data. Again, any questions or concerns would be gratefully received.

Open data is a wonderful national asset. We want to champion its use any way we can and believe helping more people find and use this data will be a net win for everybody. We’ve chosen to take this open data and use it in parts of MNB Assess, but you could use it for… well, anything.

What will you make with it?