Exploring Toronto 311 calls Part1: Why people are calling?


Toronto 311Service Request - Customer Initiated contains information on on customer initiated service requests received by the city of Toronto for Solid Waste Management, Transportation Services, Toronto Water, Municipal Licensing & Standards, and Urban Forestry related request.

In the April session of the Toronto OpenRefine Meetup we took an hour to explore the data set and prepare it to map in using Google Fusion Table. For this example we will use only the 2015 calls available to this date:  from January 1st to March 31. Download it from here: http://opendata.toronto.ca/311/service.request/SR2015.zip

The 311 Service Request - Customer Initiated data set have three fields:
In this first article we will explore the relationship between the type of request and its creation date.


[Video] Introduction to GREL


In partnership with the OKFN School of Data , we recorded last November an hour Skillshare on Refine GREL Language.  Always wonder how to get started with the Generic Refine Expression Language (GREL)?

Watch this one hour tutorial and learn the basic of the language along with simple expression. Further tutorial will be published to go through each functions presented in this video.


Parsing and extracting HTML tag and links in Refine

I recently helped someone on stackoverflow to parse and extract information from an HTML page.  Refine with GREL offer multiple ways to select specific element and contant. This article will review the main functions and specific use cases to illustrate when to use them.


Increase Set Facet Choice Count

The default maximum number of values displayed in a facet is 2,000. This limitation has been set to prevent Refine to slow down when working with large datasets.

You can override this parameter by changing this value. Click on Set Choice Count Limit and define the new maximum (Refine prompt automatically a value matching the maximum number of value is your current facet).


Opening RefinePro Knowledge Base

It all started in June 2011 whe we opened OpenRefine Tips and Recipes blog. Over the last three years we documented Google Refine and then OpenRefine functionality with concrete examples and screenshots and listed the best materials written by others. It started as a personal notebook to a knowledge base of over 110 articles coverings more than 80 topics.


Parsing Apache log using OpenRefine

Recently I was looking for a quick way to explore some apache log file. I didn't want to set up any software and I wanted to analyze some very precise path for a specific user, or what happen after a specific error. So I thought about OpenRefine and its parsing capabilities.

The recipe doesn't replace an analytical tool to understand your traffic but help to go behind the curtain and drill down to analyze specific IP address or user, type of error code and patterns


Announcing RefinePro

Less than two weeks ago we announced the start up of RefinePro as a new participant of the OpenRefine ecosystem. This post provides background on where we come from and how we see  the position of RefinePro within OpenRefine community.

Why a company? 

I have been actively involved with the OpenRefine community since summer 2011 when I opened this blog to document tricks and tutorials regarding OpenRefine usage. I am also active on the mailing list to provide support and I maintain the twitter account to share project news and answer questions..

Over the last year I have witnessed how the community has grown. Today OpenRefine is downloaded over 1,000 times per week! MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) are being dedicated to OpenRefine. OpenRefine twitter feed is buzzing daily with new tutorials, workshop and blog articles.

Data wrangling and cleaning tools are getting in demand and we see a bright future for OpenRefine. We want to take Refine to the next level and to commit a full time dedicated team to close existing issues, develop new functionality and improve the level of support.

What next?

We plan first to provide a hosted access to OpenRefine to

  • Make it easier for people to start with Refine by removing the installation process,
  • Offer access to your project from multiple devices,
  • Power up your project with more compute power.

We will be testing our business model and architecture through a beta access.

Reserve your spot for RefinePro beta today

If you already haven't, you can help us by spreading the word about our initiative by email friends and coworkers and sharing the news on twitter, Facebook, Linkedin or Google+

The content from this blog will migrate to RefinePro in order to keep branding consistent. We will notify our readers when this happens.

If you are just curious and want to stay in the loop you can subscribe to our mailing list (beta user are already registered) or follow us on twitter or google +.