Australian-first Data Tool to Show Where Help is Most Needed
4 September 2018 at 2:25 pm
Social enterprises helping disadvantaged communities will be able to see exactly where support is needed most, through an Australian-first data tool developed for the community sector.
Created by social enterprise Infoxchange with support from Google, this open data platform uses location-based, anonymous search data and service listing information taken from Ask Izzy, to show the demand and supply of services in categories such as housing, homelessness, food, and mental health.
The platform also utilises data from other sources including the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and the Australian Bureau of Statistics, offering a comprehensive view of the need for support services across Australia.
Infoxchange CEO David Spriggs said while in the past, organisations only had information on where services were being provided, this tool would help the sector actually see where support was needed.
He told Pro Bono News the platform was updated constantly, to ensure the data was relevant and left no people in need behind.
“I think a real advantage of the open platform is that it’s updated near real time, as opposed to information coming from government data sources, which is often more than 12 months old by the time it’s released,” Spriggs said.
Spriggs added that Orange Sky – a social enterprise providing mobile laundry and shower services to people experiencing homelessness – had used the platform to get a better understand of where their vans were most needed.
“They’re using the data from the Ask Izzy open data platform to better target their laundry vans and their shower vans across the country,” he said.
“And through the use of the open data platform, they can see where people are looking for services, they can also find out information like what time of day people are looking for services, where are they located, and what are their needs.”
Orange Sky co-founder Lucas Patchett said the platform would help services like theirs better understand the needs of people they supported.
“Having access to the open data platform allows Orange Sky to become more informed, but also provides the opportunity for volunteers to better support our friends doing it tough,” Patchett said.
“Information and technology can better connect people with the community and we’re excited to see how we can use the data to help our friends in need.”