Open Data: You have to see it for yourself

I often wish I had the ability to recall information about Essex at will. Like Neo, instantly learning how to do kung-fu while plugged into The Matrix. While it might not allow you to dodge bullets, Essex Open Data (found at is the next best thing!

Essex Open Data is a one-stop shop for all your Essex-related data needs and it just got even better! Essex Open Data is home to several useful resources on a range of themes, including:

  • Area profiles – This is a brand-new tool on Open Data (more info is just a quick scroll away!)
  • Interactive tools – We have a range of interactive tools that allow you to search for the data you’re interested in (including a fully interactive Joint Strategic Needs Assessment)
  • Reports & publications – In-depth and insightful evidence bases providing a rich picture into the needs of our communities and vulnerable cohorts
  • Datasets – and finally, what would Open Data be without datasets? Datasets are provided to allow you access to the data for your own analytical purposes.

Introducing…Essex Area Profiles!

The new Area Profiles pull in data from a range of official sources (such as the Office for National Statistics, NOMIS and Government statistics) to build a picture at district and ward level. You can even use a postcode to search for data.

The area profiles give you information on a range of themes, such as the local economy, roads and transportation and community information and demographics. The tool provides visualisations and maps, and in some cases you are able to see trends over time.

The tool is powered by APIs, which means that all the data in the dashboard is pulled direct from source, so you can rest assured everything included is the most up to date information possible.

Previously, trying to build up a profile of a particular area took time. It often involved manually downloading data from a number of different websites to tell a complete story about an area. Now, you can access the information you need in the click of a few buttons.

The tool is still a prototype at the moment, and there is more data to come! If you have any feedback, or suggestions on what could make the tool better, feel free to email us at

What else is new on Open Data?

Our front page has had a complete redesign, with new features meaning you can quickly find information important to you.

These interactive circles (shown below) allow you to access the most up to date information for Essex and its districts at a glance. Graphs and charts on a range of themes are presented to enable you to get answers to questions such as ‘What is the population of Essex now, and what will it look like by 2040?’

Our refreshed site also includes a top 5 list showing what other users are browsing on Essex Open Data. This way you can see what kinds of things Essex local authorities are contributing to the site, and which resources are most popular with our partners and the public:

What’s next for Essex Open Data?

This is only the start for the refreshed Essex Open Data, and we’re looking to take an iterative approach to improving the website to ensure it’s useful for all. As such, some of our plans for the coming year include:

  • User testing to ensure the platform meets the needs of multiple audiences
  • Further development of the new Area Profiles and the website
  • Seeking further integration from external partners in Essex.

Open Data is an incredibly important resource for us all, so continue to check in with the site to see a range of insight and analysis on Essex, available at your fingertips. Perhaps there’s no need to plug into The Matrix after all!

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