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July 20, 2011 at 11:51 #516AnonymousGuestJuly 20, 2011 at 11:51 #835AnonymousGuest
As data practitioners we have certain needs, and perhaps that’s not communicated to the people in the Police forces that have to complete the Police.uk API data stream each month. When we ask for ‘clean data’ it may be misconstrued as simply having the data completed. That’s only half the story for us.
We need the data, across all 43 police forces, to be consistent and uniform. Put simply, if the method of capturing any data allows you to type something, and not pick something from a list, then it’s data that is automatically less reliable. In most cases this data is great for presentation, but almost worthless to us because it cannot be ‘mined’.
Mining data relies on all values fitting the same shape and size. For example, if we ask for someone’s rank and we see different values for the same rank e.g. PC, P.C., Police Constable – then we can’t produce a report where we can filter for Police Constables. The same goes for many of the API’s fields.
Another requirement we have is that Police forces do not append meaning to any of their values. This means when it asks for ‘address’ for a Police Station we want to see the address, and not the address plus ‘Opening Times M-F 9am-5pm’. By adding extra data it means we cannot mine it.
Unfortunately, unless the NPIA (or RKH) provide a hard list of valid values in many of the API’s data fields, we’ll never be able to fulfil this data’s true potential. The data will continue to be re-presented (as many apps we see do just that). UKCrimeStats is unique because we put a lot of effort into cleaning and relating the data ourselves in order for us to mine the data more accurately.November 27, 2012 at 02:42 #836AnonymousGuest
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