Finding and accessing data
The London Datastore currently hosts over 900 open datasets. These are datasets that are available for everyone to access, use and share for free. You can search for and access any of these open datasets without needing to sign up for a Datastore account.
The best way to discover whether the Datastore holds a certain dataset is to use the search tool. You can do this by typing key words into the search bar on the homepage or clicking “Data” and then “Search for Data” in the navigation menu at the top of any Datastore page.
From this same menu you can also choose the browse datasets by topic (such as economic or demographic data) or by their publisher (such as the Greater London Authority or Transport for London).
The dataset search results page will list a series of links to relevant datasets. You can specify your search further by selecting one of the filters on the left-hand side of the page.
Each dataset is a webpage that contains metadata and a collection of files (referred to as “resources”) that can be downloaded or previewed in your browser. At present the majority of the resources on the Datastore are XLS or CSV files, however you will also find datasets in a variety of other formats such as shapefiles for GIS analysis, PDF reports, and links to in-browser data tools that allow you to analyse the data visually and intuitively.
Additionally, not all resources are necessarily hosted on the Datastore itself. Some datasets simply contain a link to another source. The purpose of the Datastore is to improve the discoverability of London’s data – not necessarily to host all of it in one place.
The Datastore also includes data that isn’t open for everyone to use. There are two categories of non-open data:
- Private data – only selected users can find this data in the Datastore search and download files.
- Shared – all users can find this page in the Datastore search. Only selected users can download files.
Gaining access to private or shared datasets requires the owner of the dataset to grant you permission. For them to be able to do this you will first need to sign up for a Datastore account.
Private datasets are usually created to share data with specific users for a specific project. Therefore an average user will not expect to use or know about any private datasets unless they are part of a specific project that is using the Datastore for data sharing.