We are always keen to support great use of our data. Vladimir Makovsky, co-founder of Briskat, a software company that develops an analytical database, created an interactive map using our house price data.
Our open Price Paid Data tracks the residential property sales in England and Wales that are submitted for registration and is released monthly. We’re always keen to see how our data is used, so we caught up with Vladimir to find out more about his project behind the map.
Hi Vlad, Can you tell us a little bit about you for our readers?
I am Vladimir, cofounder of Briskat (www.briskat.com). Briskat is a software company based in Brno, Czech Republic. Our company develops fast online analytical processing (OLAP) database suitable for the Internet. Simply said, the database allows millions of daily users to analyse a large amount of data while offering near-instant response.
Before we talk about the maps, can you tell us which of our datasets you used?
We use Land Registry Price Paid Data. This dataset includes most of the residential property sales in England and Wales in the last 20 years. Currently, it has over 20 million sales records. The data itself is really interesting because almost everyone needs some space for living at some point and it gives you a lot of valuable information. I reckon your dataset is a very popular source of information. Many UK newspapers use it regularly. And also many property websites have it integrated in some way. I wish we had such public dataset available in our country too.
Did you face any challenges using the data?
We didn’t face any challenges with your data. The data is detailed, very well maintained and immediately processable by a simple script. We had some issues with geo data for the map. Creating polygons for a postcode is a time-consuming task, so it’s easier to look for some existing ones. We found some OpenStreetMap polygon files, but they were over five years old – the postcodes actually change over time.
So how and why did you decide to create this map?
Well, we wanted to demonstrate our backend technology which uses ordinary hardware. We were looking for data that was interesting, computer-friendly and a live public dataset with a few million records. That’s how we found your dataset!
It is one of a few public datasets that meets all these criteria. It includes geographical location as well which is a nice bonus. At first, we created just a dashboard with a few tabs without maps. Later on, when a developer from datamatic.co created London property map on top of our service (house.briskat.com), we realised it’s easy to add a map to the dashboard so we did.
What have you enjoyed about creating the interactive map?
Working with new technologies – it’s amazing what is possible nowadays. But of course, the biggest voila moment comes when you see the end result.
Did you consider merging the data with any other datasets? e.g. Valuation Office Agency
Yes, we did. But we actually didn’t find any other computer-friendly live dataset. If anyone can show us a computer-friendly public dataset nice to mix with a price paid dataset, we can add it to the existing dashboard.
Are you planning to create any other online tools using any other data we release?
Not at the moment. We specialise in instant online analytics and we focus on our backend technology. By developing it to a more mature state, we will allow other developers to create and expand similar online analytic mashups easily. We also want to team up with companies that create visualisations that would like to use our backend system.
What response have you had from people who have used your interactive maps?
We released our house analytics dashboard two months ago and added maps a month ago. We’ve had some positive comments and a few comments to change some features slightly. Until now, we’ve had over 4400 unique users. Of course, we would like to have millions of users, but it’s not bad considering that we did almost no marketing!
Have a look at the Briskat website and let us know if you have any feedback for Vlad by commenting below. If you’ve done something creative with any of our data sets then please get in touch. You can tweet us or leave a comment below.