The Data Guru in Residence (guest post)

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Last week, Code for Australia launched its first fellowship program, a four-month project where a civic-minded developer will try a new approach to helping government solve problems with their data. This is the first post that Steve Bennett, our Data Guru in Residence, will write about his experience. You can see all the datasets he works with at http://melbdataguru.tumblr.com.

For the next few months, I'll be a "Data Guru in Residence" for government bodies in Victoria. My goals are to find interesting and useful datasets, help make them public, and do fun stuff with them. It's a kind of test run for the Code for Australia hacker in residence program currently being developed. Since I work for the University of Melbourne, I'll be targeting datasets that are useful for researchers, and usingVicNode to store data wherever it's needed.

To start with, I'm spending some time with the CityLab team at City of Melbourne. They're very progressive on the open data front, and their Open Data Platform has some really high quality datasets, like the 70,000-tree Urban Forest or the Development Activity Monitor which contains detailed information on property developments.

Some of the immediate datasets on the radar are finding live feeds from the city's pedestrian sensorsand bike share stations. I'd love to incorporate these into the successful Govhack project, Living Breathing Melbourne, built with Yuri Feldman and Andrew Chin. There's also lots of interesting data from the Census of Land Use and Employment with immense detail on how floorspace is divided up between residential, retail, commercial and so on. There are Mahlstedt fire plans, LIDAR data, and a really detailed, textured 3D model of the CBD. And of course other data that's already public, but whose full potential hasn't yet been realised.