Skip to content

Blue Plaque

So I’ve just been to the Open Data Hack Day in Oxford which was good fun. Met some cool people, wrote a lot of code and drank some brandy.

My team was playing around with using dbpedia‘s data mixed with geo-location to find you an interesting fact about where you currently are. We had a lot of fun with it — the final results are here:

It does some neat things. It uses javascript to ask your browser where you are, or failing that to use the wikipedia name of a city, the lat/long or use the postcode. will give you the lat & long thanks to @gothwin.

It then attmpets to find nearby places on wikipedia which are the hometown of something. It does this by searching for things within + or – 0.2 of a latitude and longitude (I know that’s not going to be a perfect square, but meh). If it finds nothing it doubles the search range and tries again until it does.

It then gets all the things that have the city as a hometown, picks one and renders a blue plaque.

For added sillyness, if there’s a image available, it has a little proxy which downloads the image, shrinks it to no more than 300×300 to be phone-friendly, and makes it white-on-blue to match the plaque.

I stole the style of  buttons at the bottom of the page from which is an excellent example of how to make a website to work on a phone, rather than bothing making a specific phone app.

We won ‘most creative use of data’. Some of the other groups did more worthy things like visualise arts-funding data and make useful bus timetables so forth. One group had a great idea but didn’t get very far which was linked-data top-trumps. Each site in the linked data cloud has quite a few stats so you could probably do something cool with that. Most triples, most links to other datasets, most open license… Actually I wonder if there’s a tool out there which you can feed a csv and it’ll produce you nice pdfs of top-trump cards to print-out.

Posted in Uncategorized.

One Response

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.

  1. Owen McKnight says

    Good stuff. You should ask for the actual Open Plaques data (, too!

Some HTML is OK

or, reply to this post via trackback.