Playing around with Open Data

I’m a big advocate for Open Data (OD) and, even though I’ve attended two ‘data hacking’ events in the past (of which I keep meaning to blog about, but procrastination gets in the way…), I have never done anything with Open Data myself.

I appreciate the work of the likes of Phil Rodgers, who use Open Data to do analysis on specific situations.
That’s one of the ‘joys’ of OD: to encourage citizens to become informed and think for themselves.

Anyway, these past couple of days I have done my first attempt and I’m quite pleased with the humble results achieved.
I’ve got a national dataset of bus stop locations and matched the SMS codes for each Park & Ride bus stop in Cambridge using the corresponding bus timetables on the Traveline East Anglia website.

Then, I manually mapped the bus stops onto Google Maps and drew a line for each route, using the corresponding colour codes. Here’s the result:

Milton Rd – Babraham Rd route:

Madingley Rd – Newmarket Rd route

Trumpington – Cambridge City Centre route

I’m sure there is a simpler way to map locations onto Google Maps, for instance by using Google Fusion Tables. I tried using the new Spreadsheet Mapping v3.0, but for some reason didn’t get the desired results. I suppose learning to use Fusion Tables could be the next step into being a more proactive user of Open Data.

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