[LINK] RFI: Quality of data.gov?

Roger Clarke Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au
Sun Nov 6 16:01:27 AEDT 2022

For the first time ever, I tried to use a data.gov resource in anger.

There was limited value in what I found.  (I already knew the current
count, and needed the count for dates in the past).

What are other people's impressions from their uses of the service?

Answer sought:  What's the timeline look like for the number of
Centrelink service-centres in operation over the last decade?

Quickly found:

Location of Services Australia Offices

Leads to:

If you divine that 'Activity Stream' means 'Previous versions', leads to

Choosing the oldest first:
> dhs-spatial updated the dataset Location of Centrelink Offices
> 3 years ago  |  View this version  |  Changes

Clicking on <View this version> goes to:

Which gets <Error [500]>
(and with no explanation, and a poorly-formatted display).

A check of <HTTP error 500> confirms it's the most useless in the set:
> ... the server encountered an unexpected condition that prevented it
from fulfilling the request ...

I wonder what the access stats are, and whether anyone's cared enough to
report the problem.  Contact Us says:
> Data.gov.au is now supported by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
> ... please contact us on support at data.gov.au and allow for up to 5
business days turn around.
> Account registrations are temporarily unavailable
> New user account registrations are temporarily unavailable. If you
intend to register as a new user, please contact support at data.gov.au for

Some years back, ABS was changed from a service-organisation to part of
the government's mass surveillance apparatus.  Service to the public is
unlikely to ever again be a priority.

(For the record, the current display shows 320 - default-mapped to
postcode - ?  The oldest available, 1 year old, lists 319 in the .csv).

Roger Clarke                            mailto:Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au
T: +61 2 6288 6916   http://www.xamax.com.au  http://www.rogerclarke.com

Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd      78 Sidaway St, Chapman ACT 2611 AUSTRALIA

Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Law            University of N.S.W.
Visiting Professor in Computer Science    Australian National University

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