Using CarbonCulture to open UK government data

Written by CarbonCulture Team on 29th June 2015

We've been working with government departments since 2009 to help them deliver on their commitment and requirement to publish their energy consumption (and hence energy spend) to the public. At its simplest, you can view and navigate through a department’s data using the CarbonCulture utility graph (see 'Our energy use', for example on DECC’s page). We also publish half-hourly summaries of the data, per year, per utility — so for example you can download the 2014 data for the electricity consumption at DECC — these are available on the departments’ Community and building pages in the section entitled 'Study our data'.

CarbonCulture is committed to opening data and as part of that it is very important to us to follow the latest standards in data publication. We've been working with the Open Data Institute (ODI) to move forward our implementation of these standards of publishing through our platform. Part of this involves making the data machine-readable, so that the collection and use of the data can be automatic.

The ODI have published guidelines based on W3C standards on marking up data delivered on web pages so that this is possible, in a standardised way. Thus far, all of the 'Study our data' sections on the CabonCulture platform have this markup — which describes the dataset, when it was published, updated, what period it covers, the download URL and the distribution format. This goes some way toward making this data reusable by interested third parties in a standard, repeatable, automatable way.

We are still working to add richness to this meta-data, for example, we currently do not have machine-readable licences attached to the data downloads. If you have any suggestions of what we could do to add to our meta-data to help you make use of it, we’d love to hear about it — you can comment below or send us feedback.

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