The principle that ‘knowledge is power’ is at the core of Insight Limerick—a shared bank of information aiming to make as much Limerick-related data as accessible as possible freely available to the public.Citizens, communities and companies can browse this repository—compiled by various departments of Limerick City and County Council and other organisations—and use it in any number of ways. City retailers can look at pedestrian footfall on certain streets, a neighbourhood watch group can look at the type of crime in their area, a student can study trends in derelict/vacant sites or a property buff see the number of planning applications.
Many of the data sets are ‘open data’ and are divided into six categories under the areas: Economic, Social and Physical. There is a variety of information and everything is displayed in charts, graphs—easy to digest formats.
“All government bodies have an obligation to publish open data. However, instead of just publishing data-sets, we also want to make data available as useful graphs and reports for people to quickly look at and visualise rather than having to download and do things with it themselves. It removes the need for people to use specialised data analysis tools. We have also collated data about Limerick from other sources like the CSO and the Live Register; we want to develop a platform where all the data relevant to Limerick can be found in one place” explained Michael Healy, Data Analytics and GIS Manager at Limerick City and County Council.
The data platform “will be built upon. We’re coming from a place where we didn’t share data at all; it was just stored on computer drives and nobody knew really how to access it. We are going to a place where we will have a more structured approach. Data will be available for anyone that has a need for it; the is information for absolutely everybody private or public” he added. At the same new safeguards and controls are put in place to protect and secure personal data.
Importantly, LCCC can also use Insight Limerick for better decision-making and service provision. There is an internal version, which allows interdepartmental sharing of data, reduces costs and improves accountability.
By 2020, there will be 100 open datasets published in Insight Limerick – and some data will be updated in real time. The Council will literally offer data as one of its services. This service will be developed in collaboration with the Limerick Digital Leaders Network and the wider public who are encouraged to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The alpha-release of Insight Limerick can be accessed at insight.limerick.ie.
For more information see: http://insight.limerick.ie