Show me the data!

I’m becoming even more of a data bore as the days go by…

So, we seem to be making some progress at work. People are starting to think of imaginative and innovative things we could do – live travel maps, improved fault reporting and tracking, traffic regulation orders. This is great news – a much better way of thinking about what we could do for the public with stuff we do, and people are coming to us to ask for things, not the other way around.

But… people are still getting too excited about the end result and not thinking clearly about what needs to be done in order to get the shiny, utopian iPhone app that does-everything-all-in-one-place-with-a-click-of-a-button.

So I am forced to resort to re-jigged Jerry Maguire quotes – “show me the data!!”. And from now on, that is my mantra.

There are lots of people out there who can think up these fantastic ideas for applications and websites, but these will be of limited value if the underlying data is, frankly, pants. We need people in the business to stop getting excited about apps and start getting excited about a nice clean, fresh, reliable dataset that we can expose via an API, easy peasy (says the worst developer you have ever come across in your life).

So, I’d like you to all to start thinking about your datasets as if they *were* undergarments – keep them clean and fresh, hang them out on the line to get them some fresh air. Oh, and please don’t go showing them off if you have unsightly skidmarks, what would your mother say?

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