We're data nerds who believe in bridging the gap between what we have now, and the quality, scale and functionality of public sector data tools such as data.gov.uk, open-data.europa.eu, and data.gov.au. However, as much as we want the revolution, we know it won't arrive in time for tomorrow's briefing or next month's report. And so, we've created GovPond to be a resource to sit between where we are now, and where we want to be.
What is GovPond?
GovPond is a portal to all kinds of Australian public sector data. It searches both data.gov.au and various State Government data sites, including South Australia, Queensland, and New South Wales, as well as the ACT. It also searches a variety of other Australian public sector data catalogues, including CSIRO, Landgate's SLIP,the Australian Spatial Data Directory, the Australian Data Archive (social sciences data), the Western Australian Department of Mines and Petroleum, and the Australian Ocean Data Network. However, the one thing it can do that you won't find anywhere else is to return results from manually curated list of 3,400+ datasets compiled by the GovPond developers, including many Western Australian resources that remain difficult to locate in the absence of a data.wa.gov.au portal.
How did GovPond start?
GovPond was originally a list of all the bits and pieces of data we discovered in the lead-up to GovHack Perth 2013. In curating the list, we discovered an enormous number of tables and tools and maps and spreadsheets that were tucked away in dark, dusty corners of the internet, near-impossible to find with a quick search. To give participants more time to develop applications instead of searching for data, we started tagging and categorising the things we'd found to facilitate a simple keyword search. And then, it got big (really, really big) and so we built a front end to search and browse the list. And after that we made it talk to other catalogues.
I am simply appalled that the search doesn't allow for Boolean expressions and more complex queries.
So are we. We're working on it.
GovPond is missing my terribly important dataset! I'm offended!
Great, this is your opportunity to contribute by telling us what is missing. Currently, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org,, and we're in the process of developing a mechanism to allow you to contribute new links for moderation.
How are you going to keep it up-to-date?
We're going to do a quarterly update to include your new suggested datasets, and any updated time-series data for the sites that release new data periodically. We'll try our best within reason, but the near-enough-good-enough philosophy really kicks in here - if you find data for 2013 in our list when you are looking for 2014 data, you can make a reasonable assumption that the same agency will have what you're after, and can head over to their website to find it. (If you're feeling helpful, do take a moment to drop us a line to let us know the new data is out.)
As of October 2013, GovPond is able to export its full catalogue in JSON format. The obvious next step is to follow this up with a proper API. We're also keeping a close eye on sites like data.vic.gov.au and will pull them in as soon as they move to a CKAN install or implement their own API, and are also looking into including the National Archives of Australia, Trove, and the Australian Bureau of Statistics. And, on the slightly less technical side, we'll also add a blog and mailing list to keep you up-to-date when we introduce more features and catalogues.
I think this is a great/stupid/interesting/other idea and want to tell you how I am excited/angry/curious/feelings of some sort about it.
Feel free to buy us drinks/go away/have a chat/choose your own adventure; we look forward to hearing from you!