The Birmingham Civic Dashboard

Birmingham-City-Council

Text source: The Birmingham Civic Dashboard 

What does the Civic Dashboard do?

The Birmingham Civic Dashboard receives a report of the requests that come in from members of the public for services from Birmingham City Council each day. It then produces a number of visualisations of that data, such as showing them on a map

The dashboard was conceived in response to NESTA’s (the National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts) Make It Local call out in 2010. Nesta wanted local authorities to team up with local developers to produce discrete open data projects with some of their data. Birmingham-based Mudlark took the basic idea for the dashboard to the council’s Digital Birmingham arm, and they embraced it. NESTA approved the joint pitch and the result is now before you.

The original aim was to make public, data relating to what issues people are reporting to the council. The belief being that when looked at on a map and in real-time the accumulation of data would provide and insight into the issues facing both the citizens of Birmingham and the council itself as it responds ot the issues raised.

Digital Birmingham Project Lead is Simon Whitehouse, Lead Developer – Matt Patterson, Project Manager – Matt Watkins and Designer – James Rice.

Birmingham Civic Dashboard is a pilot project – please do feedback your questions and comments.

All the data is provided for you to make use of for your own purposes. In 2 different formats.

CSV

These can be accessed by clicking on the download complete data set button, provided on every page.

JSON

The data is also avaiable through URL’s in the form of a restful API. For example if you are looking at a view of the data that is of particular interest, say for example the homepage:
http://www.civicdashboard.org.uk
to get a JSON version of the same view simply type into the address bar:
http://www.civicdashboard.org.uk/index.json

The site uses data which comes from Birmingham City Council’s Customer Relationship Management systems. These are big systems which a lot of the council’s employees use in their daily work. It would be difficult and expensive to get at that data in real-time, so we get a big update delivered once a day (by an automatic task that’s run overnight) instead.

DOES THAT MEAN THE DATA ISN’T LIVE?

Yes: we get only one update a day which usually arrives early in the morning and covers the previous day.

DOES IT EVER GO WRONG?

The data we display is the data we’re given. Sometimes, the council’s systems have periods where they’re down for maintenance, and data is collected manually and then entered into the system once when the maintenance is over. This may appear as a quiet day followed by a big spike in contacts at an implausibly late hour.

If, for any reason, we don’t get an update one day then we don’t update the site until the next update arrives. Usually that means that we’ll have processed a couple of days at once.

OS OPENDATA

We’re using data from the Ordnance Survey’s CodePoint Open under the terms of the OS OpenData Licencein order to figure out where to plot things on the map.

Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2011

Contains Royal Mail data © Royal Mail copyright and database right 2011.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>