Paul May

26 October 2010

In 2010, frustrated at the lack of accessible data sets related to Ireland and the Irish economy, I created my own programmatic interface (a RESTful API) to Irish government data. The service scraped data from the Irish Central Statistics Office and other government websites, and made the data available as cleanly formatted JSON. I used the API and the Processing framework to create a series of graphics and animations representing Ireland and the Irish economy.

The process of building the API was incredibly informative, but ongoing maintenance proved to be incredibly difficult. was actively maintained for just over a year, before being mothballed.

To this day, programmatic access to vital Irish government data remains very difficult. Government department continue to publish vital reports and statistics as PDFs, which hampers 21st century journalism, and public oversight. The Irish state remains practically invisible to standard tools of inquiry widely used in the UK, US and elsewhere.

Project Images

The value in millions of Euros of house loans approved in Ireland, per quarter, between 1980 and 2010.
The average house of new and second hand homes in Ireland in Euros. Prices are represented as a percentage of the maximum value seen in the period; i.e. if a price is the maximum price seen between 1980 and 2010 it is 100% white. The columns above the midline show the average price of second-hand houses. The columns below the line show the average price of new houses.
Seasonally adjusted standardised unemployment rate in Ireland, by month, from 1981-2010. Lighter regions show lower % unemployment. Darker regions show higher % unemployment.
The number of people on the Live Register in Ireland for the month of November 2010. Each figure represents 100 people.
Monthly rainfall data for Dublin Airport (above the mid-line) and Malin Head (below the midline) each month from 1958 to June 2010.
Sparse, experimental representation of Irish politicians who co-occur in the transcripts of Dáil (the upper house of the Irish parliament) proceedings
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  • Paul May is a researcher, interaction designer, and technologist from Dublin, Ireland. He is currently working with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center on smart health applications.