What is the Herefordshire datastore and why should you care?

What is the Herefordshire datastore?

A datastore is a place to store and find data. In the course of talking to people about the Sustainable Route Map project this was one of the things that many people suggested would be useful.

We’ve started the Herefordshire datastore on the free (and really excellent) datahub.io service. It’s incredibly rough and ready but we’ve started adding some data to it. Have look now. 

At the moment we’re adding things that we’ve come across or are creating in the course of preparing the Sustainable Route Map. Which is why it’s a slightly random collection of datasets. But we really hope that other organisations and people will add their own data to it. The more data that is put there, the more useful it will be.

The datastore works like this: 

  • we (or, hopefully, you) create a page for a dataset
  • you give it a title and write a short description
  • you give it a licence (we’ll talk some more about that in a future post)
  • you upload a file containing the data or link to where the data already lives on another website
  • you save it
  • other people can find and use your data

Here are a couple of worked examples using data we’ve already loaded.

Employment rate

The Office for National Statistics collects and publishes lots of data about the labour market across the country. You can investigate this data at the website NOMIS https://www.nomisweb.co.uk.

We were interested in the employment rate in Herefordshire and how it had changed over the years. So we ran a query on NOMIS and downloaded just that data.

Then we added that file to the datastore. Even though you could get it yourself by running a query on NOMIS. Partly because we might want to refer to it in the future but mostly to make it a bit easier for people in the future who might want this information

Council expenditure.

Each month Herefordshire Council publishes a couple of files listing the various things it has spent money on. They live on the council’s website here https://www.herefordshire.gov.uk/government-citizens-and-rights/democracy/transparency-contracts-and-expenditure

We created a page for this dataset on the datastore. We’ve then put links in to the files on the council’s website. So we’re not duplicating the data but, hopefully, over time we’ll be making it easier to find.

If the council want to put their data here instead, we’ll be very happy with that.

Listed buildings

We were also interested in listed buildings in Herefordshire. The full list of listed buildings in England is published by Historic England and updated every two weeks. You can download it yourself or, even easier, use the (free) Magic Maps service to publish all the buildings on a map.

We wanted to know something that isn’t displayed on Magic Maps: how many listed buildings were there in Herefordshire in each year since the list began.

You can find this out from the Historic England data but only be doing a bit of work. First of all you have to chop out the listed buildings in Herefordshire from the whole list for England (we’ll write a blog post about how to do that soon). For each building the dataset has the date they were added to to the list. So we had to turn that date into just the year and then create a table that showed how many buildings were added to the list in each year. Then we needed to create a cumulative figure (so that this year shows the number of buildings that were on the list last year + the number of buildings that were added to the list this year).

Now we’ve done all that work we’ve uploaded the resulting table to the datastore. That way if someone else wants the information in the future they won’t have to do all the work we did because they can just download the data.

Out of interest this is what that looks like:

Graph shows a steady increase in steps from 0 to about 2,700 between 1950 and 1980 then a steep increase to about 5,500 by the late 1980's then a slower increase to just under 6,000 by 2016

Why should you care?

Things are at an early stage for the datastore. Most people probably won’t care until there is a lot more data in there. And even then we may need to help people understand how to download and use the data.

  • But if you already use data and especially if you produce data then we hope you’ll:
  • be interested (even excited) and have ideas or suggestions
  • start using the data that appears in the datastore
  • (even better) start adding data to the datastore
  • encourage others to do the same

Please get in touch. Leave a comment below, tweet us on @sustainhfds or email mary.burton@bulmerfoundation.org.uk

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