Open Data case studies

Open Data demonstrates the power and potential of proactively releasing datasets held by government.

What is Open Data?

Open data is data that can be freely used, re-used and redistributed by anyone - subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and share-alike. The full Open Definition gives precise details as to what this means.

Case study – Releasing timely crime statistics for better outcomes

The clear intention of the RTI Act is that the community can have access to certain types of government information so they can engage with government on issues relevant to them or their local community.

The publication of crime statistics can inform the community about police operations and offences that are occurring through the State and at a local level. This could in turn support numerous activities such as:

  • better targeting of locally driven initiatives around crime prevention
  • galvanising communities into action around problems
  • community capacity building
  • informing individuals, including tourists, to reduce risk to personal safety
  • informing the real estate and other markets about a material factor
  • whole of government accountability in responding to disadvantage
  • educating the community about the challenges facing police
  • improved public scrutiny of police strategies and responses.

In 2011-12 OIC conducted a compliance review of the Queensland Police Service’s (QPS) compliance with the RTI Act and IP Act – read OIC’s compliance review report (PDF, 714.42 KB) and follow-up review report (PDF, 427.77 KB). In June 2013 QPS launched the Online Crime Statistics Portal.

During the compliance review, OIC noted the crime prevention contribution that organisations such as Neighbourhood Watch can make to the community. An example of this provided to OIC was a concerted effort by Neighbourhood Watch and the local police in a particular Queensland community to combat a spike in property offences. The impetus for this intervention was the provision of crime statistics by street address to the local Neighbourhood Watch. The Neighbourhood Watch was familiar with the area, and was able to notice the pattern of offences and the probable causes for targeting of particular areas for criminal activity. Neighbourhood Watch advised the local police who responded to the situation by distributing letters, engaging with people in shopping centres and increasing their patrols.  The Neighbourhood Watch group reported to OIC that the offence rate was markedly reduced following this initiative.

View the Queensland Police crime statistics portal here

Case study – Sharing Queensland wildlife data

The Queensland Government, through the Open Data portal, provides access to WildNet information approved for public release. WildNet is used by the government to manage wildlife data collected from public and private sector sources. The WildNet data on the portal is accessed using the Queensland Government’s wildlife data API (Application Programming Interface).
Since making 103,000 WildNet fauna records available on 29 May 2014, there have been more than 1900 downloads, delivering 33 million records to researchers, policy makers and anyone interested in Australia’s unique plants and animals.

Read more on sharing Queensland wildlife data

Case study - Making our roads safer for kids with education and transport data

The Qld School Zones app helps keep childrensafe in school areas by notifying drivers when they are approaching a designated Queensland school zone. The app recognises both state and non-government school zones and takes into account school and public holidays, meaning warnings are only given when school zones are active.  Developer Robert Crago says the app will end confusion around the location and status of school zones, thereby increasing safety.

Read more on making our roads safer for kids

Case study - Weather data for irrigation scheduling/crop modelling

The Queensland Government, through the Open Data portal, provides access to historical weather information for Queensland in the form of patched point datasets. End users access the data through the government’s Scientific Information for Land Owners application.

The information generated by the model helps sugarcane producers plan their irrigation requirements – when to apply and how much – so that their irrigation efficiency is maximised, irrigation inputs are minimised and productivity is increased.

Read more on using weather data

Case study - Travelling around Brisbane on public transport just got easier

The Brisbane Bus and Train app uses Queensland open data to  provide users with arrival times and stop locations of Brisbane buses and  trains. The app also allows users to save bus/train stops to their ‘favourites’  for easy access and usability.

Read more on travelling around Brisbane on public transport

Read more about open data via the Open Data institute Queensland