Last week, Phil Swan of iNetwork led a breakout session at an ‘Improvement and Efficiency West Midlands’ conference at the ICC in Birmingham. In his talk, he very kindly spoke about our Innovation and Intelligence Lab in Trafford, and demonstrated a couple of things that we’ve done to use data to support decision making.
One of the things he showed was our defibrillator map (albeit an old version).
I’ve written about how this came about previously, so I’m not going to dwell on that. What was interesting, though, was that Andy Mabbett, who was tweeting the conference on behalf of IEWM, pointed out that the data should be on OpenStreetMap.
OpenStreetMap (OSM) is a massive open map of the world with all sorts of things mapped onto it – streets, places of interest, cycle routes. Anyone can edit it, and it’s a very rich source of data.
We have added a couple of dog poo bins to OSM in the past, but just as a test. I felt that putting defibs onto OSM would be an excellent plan – we could add all the points, and then use that OSM data in our own reports. The dataset is also much more open, because it can be added to other areas’ defibrillator data (maybe ultimately giving a WORLDWIDE map of defibrillators..!). It also means we could get people to add defibs that they know of straight to the map – more crowdmapping.
Andy also provided a link to the OSM wiki, showing how to add defibrillators. They are essentially created as points of interest with a key:value pairing of ’emergency:defibrillator’.
To add the defibrillators, then, I logged into open streetmap, zoomed to Trafford, and went to edit. I use Potlatch 2 to edit the map, which runs from within the browser window, but does require Flash. There doesn’t appear to be a facility in OSM to bulk upload data (at least one that I could work out), so I had to add them manually.
To add the defibrillators, I zoomed to the appropriate building on the map, and dragged in any icon from the window on the left. It doesn’t matter which – defibrillators aren’t in the window, so I changed them manually.
A new icon is then added to the map. Clicking this icon changes the left panel to a simple information screen. By clicking ‘advanced’ in the bottom-left corner the key:value pairs are displayed. I added a new one, with emergency in the left column, and defibrillator in the right column. This tells OSM that the object is of type defibrillator in the collection emergency. I then deleted the top row, which relates to the icon that was used to create the marker.
Saving then adds the entry to the database. To check that the defibs had been added successfully, I used Harry Wood’s XAPI query builder. By putting ’emergency=defibrillator’ in the search by tag field, and zooming to Trafford and drawing a box around it, I could run the Overpass API to view an XML file containing all the defibrillators in Trafford.
I have two further things that I’d like to do with this.
- There are additional data items that can be associated with the defibs – accessibility, description of location, restrictions on use, that would be very useful to add.
- We need to work out how we can query OSM using the Overpass API, and display our own defibrillators on our own reports. Once we’ve done this – we’ll add a new blog post detailing how we did it, and what the outcome is.
We’ll also look into putting other georeferenced datasets onto OpenStreetMap. We aren’t allowed to add anything that has been derived using Ordnance Survey products such as Mastermap, but anything that we can get up there, we will.
As always – if we’ve approached this in a horrible way, please let us know. If you can use the data, or make something nice out of it – send it through and we’ll showcase it.