Anna Powell-Smith

Hello! I'm a public-interest technologist.

I am currently the director of the Centre for Public Data, a new non-partisan research and advocacy organisation. 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 DataLab, which uses data to help doctors make better decisions.

Write to me: [email protected].

Some past projects

As a data scientist and developer, I worked on many technical projects using combinations of code, data, stats, maps and visualisation. By choice I worked in Python (pandas, Jupyter, Django), JavaScript (D3, Node), and Postgres/PostGIS.

Mapping money laundering

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

Mapping 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.

Doctors' decisions

While I was the tech lead at Oxford University's 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.

Opening up Domesday Book

Back in 2011, I put the Domesday Book (the original government dataset) online for free. Open Domesday maps every town recorded in the 11th-century Domesday Book, and has been visited by over one 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 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.

Some 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.


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