[okfn-help] Open Economic Data and Visualization

Rufus Pollock rufus.pollock at okfn.org
Fri May 28 16:12:33 BST 2010

cc'ing okfn-help mailing list (hope you won't mind -- this way others
can get involved too!)

On 25 May 2010 00:05, Alex Hagon <alex at evidencemetrics.com> wrote:
> Dear Rufus

Are you around at all tomorrow (Saturday) afternoonish? We could catch
up on skype/irc (http://www.okfn.org/contact/) for a bit ...

> I've now put together a smattering of UK house price -related datasets. They
> are a lot more organised when not winzipped, but hopefully give an idea
> (please find attached), and are sortable by name. Lots still to add!

This looks great. I think we can start creating ckan packages and
attaching data to them.

> A few conflated datasets thrown through a (very) simple model, and they make
> some rather pleasing charts : e.g.
> http://www.evidencemetrics.com/index_sub_2010-05_25_uk_house_prices_under_the_microscope.html

Very nice.

> I'm also massively enthusiastic about this. I think there's huge potential,
> as you also identified when we spoke. Once the data is available in one
> place I cannot help but think that there will be significant interest, from
> all sorts of people wishing to draw on the added value of the data being in
> one place and regularly updated. E.g. please find attached one potential
> idea which possibly would have large uptake from a wide array of
> people. While I'm sure others will already be doing this in some form, do
> you think this could be a possible project for the Foundation to get ahead
> of the curve and really popularise as they have a large comparative
> advantage to make this work?

I think this is great. I've taken the liberty of turning this document
into a google doc so others can see it easily too:


> There's currently huge numbers of people updating their own spreadsheets
> on this same data manually and separately across a wide array of sectors,
> from public to private sector. Why not update it for them through a
> community and provide a few template charts, which they can customise using
> an online editing tool? Do you also think that it is only perhaps a matter
> of time before this becomes hugely popular, simply because of the time
> savings from all that excel chart updating fatigue! Given that open economic
> data seems to be the way forward, this arguably will allow economists and
> statisticians to get on with doing what they really add value at, applying
> their human intuition and professional skills, rather than simply updating
> charts which is a major drain on their time at the moment, and so this would
> appear to have a public good angle.

Completely agree with you. And the moment, too much stuff is siloed
and there is way too much repetitious excel munging with people doing
similar things again and again.

> As my skills in the latest technologies need some updating urgently (no
> matter, where there's a will there's a way..), I've simply attached the data
> as some ms excel spreadsheets here, which as soon as I learn how to will
> transfer in the appropriate form to the ckan site.

We should arrange a call or online meetup soon to work on this together.


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