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  • Raising Awareness of Publicly Accessible Toilets through Open Data

Bichard, Jo-Anne and Knight, Gail, Journal Article, Raising Awareness of Publicly Accessible Toilets through Open Data Journal of Community Informatics. ISSN 1712-4441 (Submitted)

Abstract or Description:

This paper builds on a previous peer reviewed article published by the Institute of Civil Engineers journal ‘Municipal Engineer’, which highlighted the development of The Great British Public Toilet Map through the use of Open Data, and as part of the TACT3 project exploring the needs of continence management in an ageing population. This paper extends this reporting of research and focuses on the challenges of collating open data from a number of different agencies responsible for information and management of publicly accessible toilet provision.

The Challenging Environmental Barriers work package found that current UK toilet provision is not centrally collated and no national map or database of toilets exists. However, the UK Governments commitment to greater transparency in local government has developed a strategy called Open Data in which information about services is released, analysed and used by members of the public. By incorporating Open Data on public toilet provision, the researchers developed The Great British Public Toilet Map (GBPTM), a public participation website to improve information about the UK’s public toilets. The GBPTM will show which councils publish Open Data about their toilets. Toilet data already released is shown on the map so that people can find the facilities. If a council has not yet published the Open Data about provision, users will be able to contact the council with a sample letter to explain why this information is useful, and encourage the council to contribute Open data to The Great British Public Toilet Map.

The GBPTM aims to encourage local authorities to provide and maintain public toilet information as Open Data, and in a cost effective way. This paper maps out the process of collating Open Data from a number of different agencies incorporating a number of varied processes for data collection, recording and distribution. It also presents the case for Open Data be made more accessible and user friendly for designers.

In 2011, the UK government published its Open Public Services White Paper emphasizing their commitment to incorporate the use of open data to deliver public services that could be tailored to community preferences and therefore more sustainable. Garbet et al (2011) have noted that many governments are now committed to releasing public records suggesting that ‘the open data movement promises to improve transparency of government services and improve the ability of citizens to scrutinize the efficiency of the Government’.

The development of a public participation website informed Bichard in the emerging field of Digital Public Space and lead to her securing the post of Knowledge Exchange Coordinator on the AHRC funded Creative Exchange project http://thecreativeexchange.org/.

Official URL: http://ci-journal.net/index.php/ciej
Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W200 Design studies > W240 Industrial/Product Design
Creative Arts and Design > W200 Design studies > W290 Design studies not elsewhere classified
School or Centre: Research Centres > Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design
Date Deposited: 27 Jun 2012 15:28
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2012 14:30
URI: http://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/1120

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