Using open data can be challenging, and especially for new users or those with limited analytical resources. It can be difficult to find what data are available, the formats can be confusing (or in some cases not that open!), and an advanced level of software skill may be required for their analysis. However, we don’t think it has to be like this!
As part of the ESRC Consumer Data Research Centre, we have spent the summer working on a new project that creates an open datastore for each local authority in the UK.
These are available here: https://data.cdrc.ac.uk/lad
Each local authority also have a separate URL for their own datastore; so, Liverpool could be found here for example: https://data.cdrc.ac.uk/lad/liverpool
We do not believe in simple replication of data sources available elsewhere, and we have added value to each open data deposit by reengineering these into new formats that are optimized for simple analysis, and which we hope are going to limit barriers to entry.
As of 5/10/15 we have created 8,738k separate data items for a very wide variety of topics.
Not every local authority have resources to create their own datastore, and for those which do, we hope that what we have created will be complementary.
For those technically inclined, the software platform is based upon highly customised CKAN / WordPress installations and additionally uses the datashine platform to create an interactive map visualisation for some of our data deposits.