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Victorian Government Data Directory

Drupal 7 Responsive Development

An Open Data ethos positions the Victorian government to: learn and share what is being done with data; to demonstrate economic and social benefits; to encourage and promote research initiatives and enhancements and the building of innovative new applications. Most of all, it gets everyone thinking about what is possible.

The client's needs is the Victorian Government’s online directory that supports the discovery of public sector data by the general public. The existing system for running this directory was a custom Content Management System maintained in house. As part of a revised Victorian Government ICT Strategy and procurement reform, DSDBI sought a commercial off-the-shelf or outsourced solution. The intention was to avoid customisation and foster value for money, collaboration and innovation.

The challenges

Replacing the existing custom system containing a large amount of intermingled data and website content was always going to be present some challenging days. And, as is often the case with opening up data sets traditionally only available in-house, the integration with legacy systems was another concern as were government accessibility and metadata standards.

The solution

We started with a data publishing system based on CKAN, similar in scope to the work we had already delivered for yet customised to meet specific requirements. We added a Drupal 7 based website, aesthetically integrated with CKAN but separate in order to keep both technical platforms independently upgradable and extensible. This solution works because Drupal so effectively handles the social media/communications functionality, while CKAN looks after data catalogues. Importantly we included Social features to allow the public to suggest datasets or showcase their work with the published data.

How the solution evolved

Sharing and opening up data is a strategic consideration. You need to be mindful of the full life cycle of data. By working collaboratively with DSDBI we were able to chart the long term roadmap of likely improvements to incorporate within We came to better understand the business needs behind requirements such as the Whole of Victorian Government Information Asset Register (IAR), which led us to allow for internal data sharing before automatic public release where appropriate.

Outside of the original scope, a data.vic brand redesign was required to be implemented across all screens in both systems. With considerable CKAN and Drupal design expertise we were able to achieve this within the project timeframe.

The results is a modern data portal that takes a lead role in unearthing the full value of data for the Victorian government and the public: making it discoverable and presentable. It was delivered on time and on budget.

Key deliverables:

  • Extensive stakeholder consultation
  • Functional and Technical Specifications and Information Asset Register documentation
  • Custom developed data catalogue application
  • Showcase featuring applications developed using the portal’s resources 
  • Development of Information Asset Register for use across the Whole of Victorian government


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