Last week some of the #citizenrelay team were in Manchester at Future Everything for the #media2012 pre-games meeting (we are the Scottish hub of the project) to present on what we have been up to so far – and to hear what the other hubs were up to in preparation for covering the untold stories of the games. We invited Paul Bradshaw of Help Me Investigate to come and help us begin to visualise the sheer amount of data that will be produced around #citizenrelay in a way that can be accessed by as many people as possible. Paul blogged the process over at Help Me Investigate Olympics, which we have cross-posted below. We are always looking for people to get involved so if you can help get in touch! 

We’ve been spending the morning finding datasets around the games and the torch relay in particular. Here’s what we’ve got so far:

The first step was to map out exactly what it was we wanted to do, and the elements that were involved. The games involve so many aspects that it’s easy to get sidetracked into various explorations. Here’s the image rounding up the elements:
Hacking the Olympics

The end result to work back through is some sort of overview of content generated around the route. Working back from that we have the following:

  1. Identify the route for the torch and related events: times and places
  2. Identify sources of content around those events: the Citizen Relay project; use of the #citizenrelay tag by others; traditional media; hyperlocal media; alternative media; issue-led media (e.g. groups concerned with accessibility); geo-located social media (those near event locations); keyword-identified social media (those mentioning ‘torch’, ‘relay’, ‘venue name’, etc.)
  3. Set up systems to capture and possibly classify that content – e.g. social media scrapers; training for Citizen Relay members
  4. Create systems to interrogate that content, e.g. by theme, quantity, network relationships, etc.

The data

It turns out Oliver O’Brien mapped the general route (1029 locations) last November. He blogged the background to it at the time, and the JSON with the data on the locations is here. There’s a similar list on the Telegraph website produced around the same time.

That doesn’t give us street-level data, however. This is listed – for the first 6 days at least – in a series of PDFs on the ITV News site. Running those through PDFtoexcelonline.com, however, doesn’t seem to work – and 6 days isn’t that useful anyway, so I stopped there.

That said, an advanced search for “torch route locations filetype:xls” or “torch route locations filetype:pdf” does bring up some results from local authorities. The problem is collating all these into a single dataset. Crowdsourcing may be a possible solution.

Some other thoughts:

The games site itself includes data on all the torchbearers, navigable by date, location and name (3 characters minimum).

Hyperlocal blogs could be located through OpenlyLocal.

Local campaign groups around accessibility could also be identified

The 60 members of the Citizen Relay project could be encouraged to add postcodes to their tweets to aid geolocation and encourage other tweeters outside the group to do so too.

 



Jennifer Jones has 140 post(s) on Citizen Relay: Tracking the 2012 Torch Around Scotland