Anna Powell-Smith

Hello! I'm a public-interest technologist.

I am the founder of the Centre for Public Data. We work to strengthen data provisions in policy, and campaign to fill gaps in important public datasets.

Before that, I was chief product officer and senior developer at Flourish, a successful British data visualisation startup.

Before that, I was the founding technical director at the University of Oxford's Evidence-Based Medicine DataLab, which uses data to help doctors make better decisions.

Write to me: [email protected]


Technical projects

My technical projects use code, data, stats, maps and visualisation. By choice I work in Python (pandas, Jupyter, Django), JavaScript (D3, Node), and Postgres/PostGIS.

Doctors' decisions

While at the DataLab, I was the sole developer on the beta of OpenPrescribing, allowing fast search and arbitrary visualisation of a billion rows of NHS prescribing data.

Money laundering

In 2015, I helped Private Eye map all the land in England owned by overseas companies, revealing London property being used for offshore money laundering on a massive scale. The map was praised in Parliament and commended at the British Journalism Awards.

House prices

In 2017, I used new data on 6.2 million house sales to produce the first definitive data on prices per square metre of houses in England & Wales. The most expensive postcode in the country is SW1X, in Mayfair: check yours here.

Opening up Domesday Book

Back in 2011, I put the Domesday Book (the original government data) online for free, for the first time. Open Domesday maps every town recorded in Domesday Book, and has been visited by over 1 million people.

Baby names

I made a data toy to search English baby names, and wrote about the trends - Ava is up, Jordan down. My findings were featured in the Guardian, Telegraph, Economist, and on the Today programme.

A few more: mapping UK farm payments, visualising the Premier League, calculating dress sizes (still my only project to make both the Wall Street Journal and Daily Mail), a hedonic analysis of commuting times, and visualising statistical uncertainty.

Past clients

As a freelance developer from 2009-2015, I worked with large companies, non-profits, government and startups. Corporate clients included Marks & Spencer, RAND and Morgan Stanley. Startup clients included Axon, Nestoria, ElasticHosts (later acquired). Non-profit clients included Greenpeace and the Government Digital Service.


Bio

I have an MPhil in computer science from Cambridge, specialising in natural language processing. I worked in finance before becoming a full-time developer in 2009. Find me on Twitter, LinkedIn, GitHub, or drop me a line: [email protected].