Hospices and IMD data

Lamplight hacks – hospices and the Index of Multiple Deprivation

I just read a blog post by New Philanthropy Capital about the problems hospices are having fundraising, particularly those in poorer areas where the needs may well be greater (due to poorer health). As a trustee of a youth club in one such area I can relate to the issues. From a data geek point of view, one of the lines that stuck out was this one:
“and starting to plot a future where service provision can be mapped against social need. One day, I hope, a donor could click on a map and see the areas needing more investment.”

And then there’s two links: one to an IMD map (Indices of Multiple Deprivation) and one to Help the Hospice’s directory, with the suggestion we look at one and then the other.

So here we are, let’s have them mashed up. First of all, we need an easy to use IMD map – not the static graphic on the neighbourhood statistics site. A quick search took me to this Guardian page featuring the work of Alasdair Rae, an academic at the Uni of Sheffield. He’s prepared a useful Google Fusion map of the IMD.

So a quick view source and we’ve got a snippet of javascript that gets a Fusion map on the page:

function initialize() {
    var googleMap = new google.maps.Map(document.getElementById('map_canvas'), {
        center: new google.maps.LatLng(51.502758957640296, -0.00823974609375),
        zoom: 5,
        mapTypeId: google.maps.MapTypeId.ROADMAP
       layer = new google.maps.FusionTablesLayer({
           map: googleMap,
           heatmap: { enabled: false },
           query: {
               select: "col0",
               from: "628653",
               where: ""

Nice! Next step is the Hospice data: their site has a directory of hopsices displayed on a Google map and listed in a table.

Unfortunately, they only list 10 at a time, and there’s 73 pages, and the table listing doesn’t include geographical data. Were this more than a 10 minute proof of concept I’d contact them and ask for a table with the data in. As it is, I just browsed to the first four pages of the listing and copied the javascript that adds the markers in the right place, so we’ve only got the first 40 on this map. But if Help the Hospices want to put their directory in a nice Google table and open it up it’d be easy to map them all… There’s no registered charity numbers easily accessible either, but if they were available we could also mash up some financial data from the Charity Commission if we really wanted to.

Conclusion? It’s taken longer to write this up than do. If Help the Hospices (and others!) want to make their data #opendata it’d be even easier and more comprehensive.

What we’re thinking about all this at Lamplight

Lamplight already lets you produce these kinds of stats pretty easily. And we’ve developed a publishing module that lets you access data within Lamplight from externals sources: at the moment the idea is that, for example, infrastructure organisations could publish a member’s directory straight from Lamplight – only one source of data, for internal and external use.

We’re also really interested in data standards in the sector, that would make open data useful data by making sure it’s machine readable and conforms to some established formats.