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Fun with open data

In late November, with Christmas decorations going up, we had the idea for a data Advent calendar showcasing open data. We would do 24 different visualisations of data for December. That'll be easy we thought. So we decided to make it harder for ourselves by insisting each one should be themed around a Christmas song. So began our month of data visualisations.

Inspired by the decorations hanging in our space at Munro House, our visualisation for the first of December was of falling snowflakes. The number of snowflakes was linked to a dataset of electricity usage from Leeds' Millennium Square from the same time in 2015. As it was our first, we spent quite a bit of time preparing this visualisation and quickly realised we needed to get quicker if we were going to get 24 created in time.

The 24 days of the ODI Leeds Advent calendar

We used a variety of open data sources including Data Mill North, Calderdale Data Works, York Open Data, some national datasets, and one international data visualisation from New York (following on from our old York visualisation). Finding a seasonal connection to some of the datasets was a challenge but that was half the fun. Who would have thought noise complaints, toilets, or fixed penalty notices for littering could have a seasonal spin?

Our Advent calendar is a showcase of what can be done with open data. Open data can be fun, engaging, easy, and for everyone. If you have some data you'd like to open up, or would like help with open innovation, please get in touch.

The ODI Leeds 2016 Advent calendar