Welcome to DataWA
Welcome to the DataWA Toolkit - your resource for working with and understanding data published at data.wa.gov.au. The Toolkit provides a wealth of guidance, how to guides, and examples for both publishers and users of data and is supported by the WA Government Open Data Policy.
In an increasingly connected and digital world everyone is a data consumer - from the general public and community groups to researchers and small businesses.
Data.wa.gov.au exists to help you to easily discover, explore, and visualise data from all over Western Australia. The reasons you need data can be myriad and varied - you might need data as part of a report you’re preparing, to provide input into a business decision, or simply to plan a trip. Through a range of powerful data visualisation tools you’ll be able to explore data without the need to install or learn the sorts of complex software packages that used to be required to work with data.
Navigating the wealth of data available from governments at all levels in Australia can be daunting. We’ve put together a range of resources to give you a helping hand in your quest for the right dataset - and if you can’t find what you’re after assistance is always only an email away.
In using data you’ll need to have an understanding of the nature, limitations, and origins of the data that you’re making use of. You’ll be responsible for understanding the licensing terms applied to data, and confirming that your use - commercial or personal - is in line with the attribution and use requirements of the government departments who published it.
As a data consumer you’ll also benefit from the sum of all the other parts of the data lifecycle. Government data creators and publishers produce raw data and information and make it available for use by the community. Data professionals and software developers take raw data and turn it into knowledge and wisdom, or create new digital services, tools, and apps from it.
First time here?
Your key links for getting started with Data.wa.gov.au.
- The Data.wa.gov.au platform
- A brief introduction to discovering government data
- Understanding access to data
- How to preview and visualise data in 5 minutes - no prior experience necessary
The responsibilities of a data consumer are not onerous, but are important to ensure you’re using data responsibly -
1. Understanding and using data responsibly
You should understand the origin of the data you’re using by reading the provided contextual metadata (the information about how the data was made). The creators of government data will publish this on Data.wa.gov.au, and will often include a range of additional collateral and supporting material for their data, including:
- data dictionaries,
- methodology statements describing how the data was created,
- explanations of any caveats or issues with the data,
- and more.
Take all of this supporting information into account to ensure that you’re using the data appropriately and responsibly. If you find the material is lacking, or that you have further questions that aren’t answered in the material, you should contact the authors and maintainers listed for the dataset on Data.wa.gov.au.
2. Respect licensing and usage terms
Make sure your understand the licensing and usage terms for any data you’re using - for example, how you should attribute and cite the source of the data. In many cases data custodians will opt to use one of the licenses from the Creative Commons suite - a set of simple to understand licenses (written in plain English) that are used all over the world that. However, you may also encounter data that has multiple licenses applied (for example, commercial and non-commercial licenses), or even data that has yet to have a license specified. If you find yourself confused or uncertain about how a dataset is licensed, you should contact the dataset maintainer listed to explain how you wish to use the data and ask them to clarify the licensing for you.
3. Keeping data up-to-date
If you need to download copies of data from Data.wa.gov.au for ongoing use it’s important to ensure that you keep your copies of the dataup-to-date and they don’t become stale. How often you need to refresh the data will depend on your particular use:
- how often the data you’re using is updated
- how much of an impact using a stale copy of the data would have on your use of it,
- whether there are any risks to using stale data.
Information about the intended and actual frequency of updates to data is published with the data on Data.wa.gov.au. As always, if you need further clarification we encourage you to reach out to the dataset maintainers.
Key links: Your responsibilities