thinkWhere has recently partnered with Falkirk council’s Fairer Falkirk team to develop a services mapping tool funded by the Open Data Institute’s Geospatial Fund. This is an exciting opportunity to engage with a community project, with tangible benefits for Falkirk Council and the wider open data community.
Fairer Falkirk is Falkirk Council’s approach to making Falkirk a more equal place to live, with a focus on reducing the impact of poverty on families and increasing household incomes. Poverty is both a cause and a consequence of poor access. Therefore, making services as easily accessible and as freely available as possible is one of our key project objectives.
There are vast amounts of help and services available to the public, but knowing what is available, and where, is challenging for the public and for frontline staff who work with people who may need help.
Through this work, we hope to make it possible for front-line staff and the general public to access information about support services with greater ease, whilst encouraging the use of and engagement with open datasets.
Data, data everywhere but not a thing to map..
Open geographic datasets such as OpenStreetMap (OSM) are amazing community resources but are often frustrating to use. In OSM, community tagging of features allows a flexible way to describe data, but sometimes we can feel overwhelmed with the multitude of tags available.
- How do we ensure that the classifications and descriptions reflect the requirements of end users?
- How do we collect data together to present to our intended audience?
The Fairer Falkirk and thinkWhere project team will be examining these issues, with the aim of developing various data themes that reflect the important services available in Falkirk. The data themes will pull together various data from OSM, grouping them in a way that reflects a service provision.
Initially starting with two themes – ‘Digital Access’ and ‘Food Provision’, we will undertake a data collation and mapping exercise. This will form the basis of future work and allow us to demonstrate our initial ideas with project partners.
We have selected Digital Access and Food Provision as our first two themes as both of these are key to mitigating the impact that poverty has on individuals and families. Being unable to go online to search for the best deals is a key part of the estimated £1200 a year ‘cost of being poor’, whilst access to food, whether that is emergency provision via a foodbank, or taking part in community activities that help provide food to children and families during school holidays, is a key concern for those on a low income.
An initial workshop is planned for early February, that will allow us to engage with community groups and develop further ideas. Watch this space!