Playing with Open Data – Via the Great City of Toronto

Posted on May 8, 2014

Open Data has been on my mind lately – and I’m sure on lots of others as well once legislation put through an open data initiative. Things started to get more exciting. I have been attempting to create a few examples of how to visualize and create interesting ways of analyzing what is out there. After scrubbing through different sets of data available via the City of Toronto I came to the conclusion that I should try and work on something that I had some interest or correlation with. Art it was; more so Graffiti.


The initial scrub of the data is written in Python – this just parses a live .xml file and stores the values to a JSON array on my server – since we all know that cross browsing is not an option. This little script runs on the server and is only executed once the user refreshes the page saving a fresh xml with just the data I need locally.


So, two ideas come out from this mapping of data.

  1. If you are a graffiti writer you can watch this data to see which areas are frequently reported on and gather that you should hit areas that are reported less
  2. If you are the law – you can track this and have more presence in the hotspot areas.
  3. Bloor Street West is pretty tagged up and gets reported on the most.

So, this is just one creative attempt at mapping something. However, the possibilities are endless and most likely profitable as well.


Will post with more updates once it goes live.