The attention to make data available in machine-readable formats is something that is addressed in more articles related to open data for better proliferation. The Swedish government is proposing a bill for better reuse of public transportation data trough machine-readable format and we have addressed the importance of machine-readable format in a article about liquid open data. What is often not mentioned is the importance of metadata in regards to machine-readable formats to augment use and reuse of data. Therefore, we want to give our perspective on why metadata are an indistinguishable part of open data and machine-readable formats. Continue reading “Machine-readable in open data context”
The Swedish transport administration authority Trafikverket, offering several open data services. One of these is the API for traffic information, which contains data and information for nation-wide train and road traffic. The API began as a information service for train, which was later on expanded to include road data. Our reviews of open APIs are part of an effort to highlight barriers and requirements from a user perspective. We hope that the reviews providing constructive feedback to the data owners, and inspire others by showing examples and solutions. Read more about the background to why we are reviewing open APIs and open data sources.
Continue reading “Review of Trafikverket open API for traffic information”
Västtrafik handles and coordinate all public transport in west Sweden with the city of Gothenburg as its main transit hub. Västtrafik offers several APIs to search and plan journeys by train, tram, ferries and bus in West Sweden. The API can be found at Västtrafiks development portal (in Swedish), which serves as a focal point for their open API service. The aim of our reviews of open API:s is to shed light on common obstacles and requirements from a user perspective. Note that the portal around the API is in Swedish, but the documentation and the API syntax is in English. The review will try to guide user with no knowledge in Swedish on how to get started. Continue reading “Review of Västtrafik open API for public transport”
Open data is undergoing a paradigm change where the focus is shifting to user demand driven publication of data in machine-readable formats, with open standards and licenses that is appropriate for its application area. This is often refereed to as “liquid information” or “liquid data” which can be read about in this report from McKinsey’s 2013. The report address the potential value that can be achieved if standards, formats and metadata are functional for its intended use. Open data 2.0 is another emerging term which refers to data that is being made available based on demand and provides means for participation and collaboration, where users can report suggestions for improvement and provide feedback on flawed data. Continue reading “User demand driven and machine-readable open data”
For the data to be put to use, there are several common obstacles that needs to be mediated. Previous article explained the affect of deficient metadata and choice of formats that makes data more inaccessible in regards to machine readability. Still data are being published today which raise barriers and impedes usability instead of the opposite. A swift overview of the registered datasets on the Swedish national portal for open data Öppnadata.se (similar to data.gov), shows that the most common format is ZIP. This format is one of the worst in regard to metadata and machine readability. Which shows that open data owners and providers in Sweden at least, don’t follow good practice and principles concerning putting data on the web. Continue reading “The Swedish national open data portal drops in ranking”
People working with data knows the importance of metadata for its usefulness. Metadata are needed to describe characteristics of data, such as whom and when it was created. Still there are data that are published without sufficient description of its characteristics, which will limit the use and affect user trust. It seems that owners and providers of open data are not taking the usability perspective and focusing more on publish data regardless if metadata is complete or insufficient. Continue reading “Metadata and the implication of data format choice”
We are currently working on evaluating the API for public transportation data and journey planing in the Gothenburg and west-coast area of Sweden. We used the API client Postman to access the transportation data. The current guide for the API portal is only in Swedish and we stumbled upon some problem setting up the OAuth 2.0 authentication. Which is why we thought of sharing how to configure the authentication, so you can start exploring the data. Continue reading “Postman OAuth 2.0 guide for Västtrafik API”
In order to create better value and promote reuse of open data there is a need for a systematic approach to review different open data and API services provided by data owners and suppliers. Open data has the potential to generate viable services, efficiency trough reuse, innovation and community involvement. Although several studies suggests that this potential is not being used to full extent. Which means that economic and social values are being lost, and the cost of maintaining these open data sources could be put to better use elsewhere.
The review protocol is divided into a number of categories linked to areas expressed in W3C best practice guide for open data. Within each category, there are a number of evaluation tasks with a maximum score that reflects how well the owner or provider of open data reflects good practice. Each category has a total score that can be awarded, which together represent a total sum that a owner or supplier may receive. The purpose of the tests is to provide an indication of the usability and accessibility of the open data source from an external user perspective.
Following categories are included in the review;
- Licensing and impartial usage
- Support and documentation
- Accessibility and API structure
- Dataformat and quality
Previous article described various obstacles commonly related to service development based on open data. Obstacle is the first dimension of a model intended to gather and categories problems related to third-party development based on open data. The second dimension of the model concerns different phases that third-party developers goes through when creating services. Continue reading “Development phases for building services on open data”
Studies carried out by Viktoria Swedish ICT, on behalf of the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket) shows that service development based on open data are consistent with various obstacles. To better understand problems related to the use of open data when developing services, a project was initiated 2014 to explore how owners and providers of open data could create better value for service developers. The premise for the project was to view open data as a service and study what created value for third-party developers. The reason for the focuses on third-party developer is that they portray a heterogeneous user group with a wide array of incentives for using open data. Continue reading “Common obstacles related to service development based on open data”