Open Data from SFO Museum

Everything you see on this website and the SFO Museum Aviation Collection website is built using the same openly-licensed data we publish for anyone to use.

Historically the model for most digital or web-based museum initiatives has been to first export data from an internal collections management system. Second, that data is massaged in to an intermediate form for use by the project at hand and then third, exported again in to a typically bespoke machine-readable format. We have changed the order of things to publish the open data representation first and then, from there, to build our own websites and services on top of that.

Everything you see on this website has been built using the same raw materials that we've made available for you to do something with. This introduces a non-zero cost in the build process for the public-facing museum efforts but we believe it's worth the cost.

We want other people to build new interfaces and new services, new "experiences" even, on top of our collection so this is a way to keep ourselves honest. If we can't build something with this stuff why should we imagine you will? We also want to ensure that the data we release and the manner in which it is published, is actually robust and flexible enough to engender a variety of interfaces and uses because we need that variety. It is important to the museum because I don't believe there is, or should be, only one master narrative in to the collection.

Open data from SFO Museum has been published as collections of Who's On First -style GeoJSON records. For a detailed discussion of these design choice please consult the Mapping Space, Time, and the Collection at SFO Museum paper (Museums and the Web 2019) or the Mills Field weblog posts tagged "whosonfirst". These data are published to the sfomuseum-data GitHub organization:

https://github.com/sfomuseum-data/

The data has been published in mulitple repositories organized by subject or theme with the following prefixes:

sfomuseum-data-aircraft

These are the data records for airlines or manufaturers that are related to objects in the SFO Museum Aviation collection or that are associated with data harvested for flights traveling to or from SFO. These are records are updated as needed and often in conjunction with updates to the collection data.

sfomuseum-data-architecture

These are the data records for architectural elements at SFO that are relevant to SFO Museum and the Aviation collection. These include buildings, terminals, boarding areas, gates and exhibition galleries. In many cases there are multiple instance of any given element mapped to a point in time. SFO in 1954 was very different from SFO in 1974 and is nearly indistinguishable from SFO in 2022. These data attempt to capture important passenger-facing "phase shifts" at SFO. These records are updated as needed.

sfomuseum-data-collection

These are the data records for objects in the SFO Museum Aviation collection and the taxonomies we use to classify those objects. These records are updated multiple times during any given week.

sfomuseum-data-enterprise

These are the data records for aircraft that are related to objects in the SFO Museum Aviation collection or that are associated with data harvested for flights traveling to or from SFO. These are records are updated as needed and often in conjunction with updates to the collection data.

sfomuseum-data-exhibition

These are the data records for exhibitions produced by SFO Museum at SFO. These records are associated with architectural features in the sfomuseum-data-architecture dataset. In some cases there are multiple instances of a given exhibition to capture its relationship with the architecture at SFO as it has changed over time. These records are updated as needed.

sfomuseum-data-faa

These data records are snapshots of the results of calls to the Federal Aviation Agency's (FAA) Status API for SFO. These records date from 2018 to the present and are updated multiple times daily.

sfomuseum-data-flights

These are the data records for flights that have traveled to or departed from SFO. These records date from 2007 to the present and are updated daily.

sfomuseum-data-media

These are the data records for media files associated with objects in the SFO Museum Aviation collection as well as installation photos of past exhibitions at SFO and Creative Commons licensed photos from Flickr that are relevant to SFO Museum. These are records are updated as needed and often in conjunction with updates to the collection data.

sfomuseum-data-publicart

These are the data records for the public art works that are, or have been, on display at SFO. These records are associated with architectural features in the sfomuseum-data-architecture dataset. In some cases there are multiple instances of a given art work to capture its relationship with the architecture at SFO as it has changed over time. These records are updated as needed.

sfomuseum-data-whosonfirst

These are the data records for administrative places (countries, cities, airports) cloned from the Who's On First and supplemented with SFO Museum specific properties. These records are updated as needed.