Improving Data: Exploring Air Transport

Posted on 01/26/2012 by

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Tokyo Haneda International Airport(Tilt Shift) Kasabi’s Data Team are working on a series of data conversion and publishing projects, and one area of focus is air-transport. I will introduce you to some of the ideas behind the project in this post, and ask what you’d like to see in air-transport datasets. I’ll also follow-up with detailed information as new sets are made available.

The data team has already begun finding and converting data from the web, and we can take a quick look at some existing sets which show us questions addressed by queryable data. There are several sets with information about airlines, airports, routes..

As a starting point, these can help answer questions about what sort of plane you might be flying, which airlines fly particular routes, or even which airlines are currently active (i.e. not defunct). As a base, they could also provide linking points for things like airline identifiers. The Routes dataset, for example, answers the straightforward question: Where can I fly from here?

The air transport data project will tie in these and newer data, making it possible to answer more comprehensive questions. This linking and improving the overall quality of data is on the agenda, aiming to make it easier for a developer to build flight information into their applications. Also, existing travel sites could also augment their services with better descriptions or fuller details.

One of the Data engineers explained:

Where appropriate, resources are marked up and enhanced with information from dbpedia to provide nice human readable descriptions and summaries that can be pulled in – this in itself may be quite useful, perhaps for things like little mouse-over an airport in a web page and get a bubble with a short description so you have some idea of where you are going.

The plan is to continuously improve this kind of data, and the data team is looking for feedback along the way:

We really want your help in picking out data to convert and also in prioritising what to do. You don’t need to know about the data to do that; if you have ideas for how you might want to use air transport data let us know. We’ll see if we can include that in our planning.

If you have ideas, data, or a project that needs this kind of data, add a comment below or drop me an email.

Datasets mentioned:

Image: “Tokyo Haneda International Airport(Tilt Shift)” by kanegen via flickr CC: by 2.0

Posted in: Datasets