An unexpected consequence of opening up data

I blogged recently about the welcome moves being made to open up London’s transport data to wider use. A great example of what opening up data can produce is the map showing the locations of tube trains on the network in real time – available for free and produced thanks to the enthusiasm and civic-mindedness of volunteers.

But with the current tube strikes in mind, it also shows how opening up data can produce unexpected consequences. Because what is one of the standard parts of transport strikes? It’s conflicting claims from unions and management about how widespread the impact of the strike really is. Courtesy of the real time map, next time we hear such conflicting comments we can all look at evidence directly for ourselves.

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4 Comments

  • A friend also found this one during the (as I call it) volcano ash cloud of doom.
    http://www.flightradar24.com/
    You can even get details by clicking on the planes.
    As you can imagine – it was rather sparce during the ash cloud.

  • Andrew Suffield 25th Jun '10 - 5:50pm

    Perhaps we need face recognition too as I’m quite sure half the group peel off round the block and come in at the back of the march a couple of times.

    A few guys with counters should be able to solve that one quite easily. All you need to do is to watch them, find all the routes they’re taking, and count somewhere along every path – then subtract all the paths that were moving in the opposite direction to the main march. The result is a close approximation of the number of unique people.

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