A fresh new look for DataWA

Summary

  • Refreshed look and feel for the DataWA data catalogue.
  • Formally dropping the 'beta' label.
  • DataWA is now secured using HTTPS by default.
  • Next steps: data.wa.gov.au homepage refresh and a new user-centric toolkit for publishers and users of data.

If you browse DataWA's datasets from today you'll notice we've made some changes to the look and feel of the site. We've put a fresh new design in place that we hope you find easier to use, more in keeping with modern design principles, and that leads to a better overall experience.

Many of the changes are purely cosmetic (larger font sizes, different colours, and the like), but we've also taken this opportunity to address a few niggling issues you had reported, and to make a few more substantial changes.

Firstly, we're now serving all pages over HTTPS by default - in short, all traffic between us and you is now encrypted whether just browsing or logged in and publishing data.

Secondly, we've officially taken the 'beta' label off the site. Moving to 'official release' of the site doesn't change anything for you – the platform, your user accounts, and the datasets haven't changed, and we're still here to help with any enquiries and discuss feedback and improvements. In practice the team has been operating the platform for the past year as if it was formally released.

Anyone visiting the old http://catalogue.beta.data.wa.gov.au address will be automatically redirected to the new https://catalogue.data.wa.gov.au address, so any existing links and bookmarks you have will continue to function.

Feedback

We've gone through several iterations of design testing and feedback, but if you do experience any problems with the new site, or have any feedback on the new design (good, bad, or otherwise) do please get in touch with us on Twitter at @datagovwa or by email at opendata@landgate.wa.gov.au.

DataWA Roadmap

While these changes are largely just cosmetic, they very much lay the foundations for work we have ahead of us over the next 12 months, including:

DataWA Homepage Refresh

The data.wa.gov.au homepage hasn't changed a lot since the original launch of the Open Data Policy in 2015 and focuses more on the policy and higher-level aspects of open data. While that was appropriate at the time it is increasingly less relevant day-to-day for data custodians publishing data, and for the users of that data.

So we'll soon be refreshing the data.wa.gov.au homepage around a user-centric approach to understanding and getting help with data through our new DataWA Toolkit (more on that next), making it easier to discover data through themed groups of datasets, and improving the visibility of newly published datasets.

New DataWA Toolkit

Closely linked to the refresh of the DataWA homepage is our work on a brand new (and much expanded) toolkit for DataWA.

We'll be pulling together a wealth of help and guidance documents relating to data that already exist across several different government websites, as well as writing a range of brand new content – from How To guides, publishing tips for data users and custodians, code samples and tips for consuming data web services, examples of automation for publishers and users, and much more.

The current toolkit (toolkit.data.wa.gov.au) will be greatly expanded to cover this much wider range of topics, and we’ll be taking a user-centric approach to designing the new toolkit and making all of this information available. Expect to see dedicated sections tailored for executives and managers, data creators and publishers, and many different types of people who use data - developers, data professionals, and more casual users.

A larger DataWA family

Over the past 6 months we've been busy lending a hand to our colleagues over in the realms of geospatial government data - through SLIP, the Shared Location Information Platform. We’ve been helping them to migrate to their brand new geospatial data infrastructure that will power the new APIs, maps, and apps built on a wealth of geospatial data from across Western Australia.

We’ve been making geospatial data from SLIP discoverable through DataWA and NationalMap for some time now, and will continue to be the place to go to discover geospatial data, but starting next month we will be welcoming the SLIP data team together with us under the DataWA banner!

What does this mean for you and what will be changing?

For geospatial government data custodians and publishers

You'll be publishing your metadata records through DataWA to ensure they’re discoverable, and then linking them through to the new SLIP Self-Service platform (a new spatial data management and publishing service the team has developed). There will be no change to the teams you work with for support in maintaining and publishing your geospatial data into SLIP.

For all other government data custodians and publishers

No immediate changes for you - you will continue to publish your data on DataWA as per normal. (We do have some exciting plans for more closely integrating DataWA and the geospatial data infrastructure behind SLIP that will enable you to do much more your data – but more on that later this year.)

For users of data

There’s no change to how you’ll be able to discover and access data - DataWA is still the place to go. Through the new DataWA Toolkit we're going to be making a big effort to enable you to go beyond simply discovering data, and making it easier to better understand and use data once you’ve found it.

Regards,

The DataWA Team