At a glance

Policy stage: 
Level of involvement: 
Number of participants: 
Any number
Online / Offline: 

“Mashups” (or Application Hybrid) is the general name for web tools which combine two or more data sources (from different sites).


The aim of a mashup is to integrate different types of online content to result in a new product or service. Quite often this will involve mapping web activity from one site (e.g. twitter) by geography on another (e.g. Google maps). Another example is WikipediaVision, a visualisation of some of the changes being made to Wikipedia in real time.

Used for

Allows participants to engage with data in new ways and to explore interlinkages and gain new knowledge.


Can be used by any number of participants. Whilst mashups require specialised skills to create they can often be used by people with no specialist knowledge.


Low: Mashups are free to implement. Specialist coding may be needed.

Approximate time expense

Medium: time will have to be taken to set up mashup websites, as well as analyzing any data that may come out of them.

When to use

When you want to explore two seperate datasets in a new way and where you want to see correlations.

When not to use

Not all data makes sense to be mashed up.


  • Might be used to create interactive local maps to look into service use in concentrated areas.
  • Might be used to monitor which areas have specific needs, and therefore tailor services to particular areas or groups.


  • Mashups are new and have not yet been used in the public engagement context.
  • Too much information can be displayed.
  • They require specialist technical skills to set up.


Mashups were incorporated in some form from the early stages of the World Wide Web’s development, when website owners would store user data on portals and update this information and it mainly look the form of combining photos and maps to create data visualizations. However, with the development of Web 2.0 and the unlocking of consumer data, Mashups have vastly increased in number.