Update to CityDashboard CSV API & iPad Wall!

I’ve made some minor alterations to the CSV API for CityDashboard. The main changes are in the metadata rows (the top two) rather than the subsequent rows. Specifically, the top metadata row has now split out the description, source and source URL – which were previously rather messily combined into a bit of HTML – into three text fields; and the second metadata row now uses properly formatted names for value titles, i.e. including spaces, and units, for example “broken_pc” now becomes “% docks/bikes broken”.

The reason for these changes is to accommodate a new and exciting use of the API here at CASA – our lab hardware specialist has recently been hard at work building an “iPad wall” and one of the visualisations in it is of CityDashboard data. Here’s what the uncompleted – but operational – iPad wall looks like (source):

It’s a physical CityDashboard!

I also took the opportunity to fix a few bugs and typos – mainly just cosmetic, but including a pretty silly one for the Mappiness-sourced data that was over-reporting the true value by a large and variable amount. Entirely my fault. That will serve me right for doing a coding change during a colleague’s Ph.D viva drinks reception! I also handle temporarily unavailable source feeds a little better – they’ll now appear unavailable for one complete update cycle but it means the source server doesn’t get repeatedly hammered until it comes back up again.

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