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GLA launches High Streets Data Service


Mark Say Managing Editor


The Greater London Authority (GLA) has launched a new service to give officials of the city’s boroughs access to data on the health and performance of high streets and town centres.

People on shopping street

Named the High Streets Data Service, it uses spend and anonymised footfall data from across London in its raw form and via a custom built Data Explorer Tool.

Theo Blackwell, the GLA’s chief digital officer, has outlined the service in a Smart London blogpost, saying it fills a gap in saving the boroughs from having to negotiate directly with data suppliers or commission analysis and reporting.

He said it is now being used by 21 boroughs to understand how different areas have responded to the pressures of the Covid-19 lockdown, and to assess the impact of local initiatives.

The Data Explorer Tool was built in-house by the GLA to give non-experts easy access to data. It can provide information on factors such as changes in spending on retail and eating out and high street footfall, all at an aggregated and anonymised level.

“The Data Explorer tool allows non-data scientists to access the insights and analysis they need to undertake their work,” Blackwell said.

“Over time the project also aims to build capacity and confidence in the use of data across local government.”

Image from iStock, William Barton

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