Bathing water quality

Photo of beach and swimmers As part of our work with data.gov.uk and the UK Location Programme we have been working with the Environment Agency to pilot the publication of both current and historic bathing water quality information as linked data. This exercises emerging UK guidance for the publication of INSPIRE location information as linked-data.
 
The Environment Agency monitors the quality of bathing-water in England and Wales for compliance with standards set by the EU Bathing Waters Directive. Between May and September water samples are collected on a weekly basis from about 500 designated bathing-water locations. The samples are assessed and approximately 100 new assessment records become available each day. In addition to serving the Environment Agency's reporting obligations to the EU there is keen interest from the public, local authorities and community groups in having up-to-date bathing-water quality information that can be merged with information about other local facilities (car-parks, shopping, accomodation, transport...) from other public and commercial sources.
 
screenshot of bathing water applicationThe bathing-water dataset (documentation) is structured around the use of the data cube vocabulary and fronted by a linked data API configuration which makes the data available for re-use in additional formats such as JSON and CSV. The JSON format is particularly useful for building embeddable web site components and applications such as our example bathing water data explorer application.
 
Publishing bathing-water quality information in this way will enable the Environment Agency to meet the needs of its many data consumers in a uniform way rather than through diverse pairwise arrangements; preempt requests for specific data; and enable a larger community of web and mobile application developers and value-added information aggregators to use and re-use bathing-water quality information sourced by the environment agency.
 
Here are some linked data API based starting points for exploring the dataset:

JSON, XML, CSV and HTML (as from the links above) variants of the data are all available.
 
Live data, updated weekly during the bathing-water season is available at http://environment.data.gov.uk/data/bathing-water-quality and can be queried via a form or directly via a SPARQL endpoint.