Last Updated on February 14, 2023 by Faiza Murtaza
Many businesses, industries, and even individuals rely on information to navigate the world and make decisions. Before you buy anything, you do research on the product, and before you plan a trip, you look up information about the area. Businesses, governments, and politicians also conduct their own information gathering to get what they need for their purposes. But how is open data changing the way we view and collect data?
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at data collection methods and how open data is changing the playing field. We’ll also look at how API access and using a SERP API can help you collect the data.
There are two major ways that businesses collect information from websites. Let’s take a brief look at two popular collection methods.
Web scraping is the automated process of collecting data across multiple websites using a specialized tool. This tool will follow the parameters set by the user and only collect the information specified. Once collected, it will combine the information into a single format, like a spreadsheet, so that it can be analyzed. The main issue with web scraping is that there’s still a gray area regarding its legality, and website owners can refuse and block scrapers and even server cease-and-desist letters prohibiting businesses from collecting their data.
Tracking can occur a few different ways, such as through cookies, device fingerprinting, your IP, and more. Many businesses use this information to get a better understanding of their target audience. However, with users becoming more aware of their online privacy, they’re starting to delete and reject cookies, hide their IPs behind VPNs and proxies and use other methods to protect their data.
With more users advocating for their right to online anonymity and the protection of their data, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to collect data through the usual means. There are also more regulations, such as GDPR, coming into play that further protect the user’s right to privacy in the modern era. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel – open data.
Open data is information that can be freely accessed, reused, and redistributed by anyone without any restrictions. Many cities and governments, especially in the EU, have already started implementing public information policies within their organizations. Many of them already share open API access to make it even easier for anyone that needs information to collect it.
Users can combine web scraping with open data for the best possible results. You can use a SERP API tool (a type of web scraper) to gain access to the website’s API and collect all the public information you require. The SERP API will increase the collection speed of your efforts, and since the public information is collected from the API, there’s no negative impact on the website, which could lead to blocks or bans.
Open data is considered a source for the public good. It has been shown to improve transparency, reduce corruption, hold governments and officials accountable, increase community engagement, and encourage progress and innovation.
Open data is already being used and has had a significant impact on many communities and businesses. Public information can improve community engagement. For example, OpenStreetMap (OSM) is a community-driven, volunteer-based source of open mapping data. OSM is a global mapping platform giving all users access to the detailed mapping information. They also launched a MissingMaps project that’s focused on mapping areas prone to disasters and crises.
Open data can be used to drive innovation. For example, New York City maintains an NYC Open Data repository that contains research and statistical data from different city offices and agencies. This dataset gives users access to useful information like zoning and building lot data or the latest bullying statistics in the area, and more.
Open data can also make interpreting data easier by having everything conveniently located in one location. For example, in South Africa, consumers can make better choices regarding the costs of their medicine thanks to the open Medicine Price Database. This information has given birth to the MPRApp, which lets users check the cost and composition of medications, and it can help them find more affordable generic options by searching the same ingredients and dosages.
As we can see from the above uses, open data is thriving and definitely doing a great deal of good in their communities. These are just a few examples of how public information has been used, and there are many more out there. Open data makes it possible for users to collect valuable and high-quality information which can be used in various ways by individuals, governments, and even businesses.