Improving Data: World Air Travel

Posted on 02/06/2012 by


We've picked something up on radar!I recently introduced the Air Travel project on the blog, and am now able to show you the first public version of World Air Travel. This dataset combines information from several sources of data, and the Data Team has created stand-alone sets around specific topics which are also available as Airports and Airlines.

We created World Air Travel by sourcing data from places like OpenFlights, Our Airports, and Flight Aware, and enhancing them with additional information from DBPedia. The Data Team then linked all these sources together to make them queryable. It uses some standards to help match your queries, or to augment data you already use. So, I could see this data used to power a new-take travel app, or to augment an existing site/service with more detailed information.

Let’s take a look at the Vocabularies and Classes. From here, we can see how the data is described, and get a feel for its structure. We can also explore individual resources from the Sample Resource tool. Choose one from the list of classes, and you get a full resource. Looking through the naptan resources, for example, I discovered: <>, which is Bossow Airport. This linked data page shows me all information contained in a resource, and lets me see the level of detail it covers.

The Data Team created some example APIs and sample queries for the set, which help illustrate what can be done with this data. For example, there is a contributed API—Airline lookup by Callsign—which lets you find out which airline uses a certain callsign. If you’re logged in, you can simply enter a callsign (try: “SPEEDBIRD” :) ), and get back a JSON or XML result. This tool allows us to try out the APIs, and see the kinds of results you’d get back with your own calls. You can contribute your own APIs and sample queries, to share your particular snapshot of the data. You could create a Stored Procedure which lets you can your query, but pass in arbitrary values via an API. (Read more about that here.)

You can read more about the two general topics covered (Airports and Airlines), and use the same exploration tools on the smaller datasets, too.

There will be further improvements coming to the World Air Travel dataset, including more information on the structure of the data and what we think you could be doing with it. You can help shape the next versions by letting the Data Team know what you’d like to do with this data, how it could be improved, and what might be missing. Drop me a line, or—even better—leave a comment below.

Image: “We’ve picked something up on radar!” by Solo via flickr CC: by-nc-sa 2.0

Posted in: Datasets