A couple of days ago I went to the ODG (open government table) regular’s table in Vienna. An interesting bunch of people with developers, local governmental and business background brought up and discussed some future applications of open data in raw formats but also already existing ways to use it today.
Even if many agencies have made their data publicly available, who can look through hundreds of PDFs or Excel sheets and make sense of it? That in itself is a full-time job but the idea of open government data is that anybody can use it and make sense of it quick! And this is what I want to show you now and invite you to play around with open data a little.
The U.S. is a the forefront of publishing their data, and the website fromdatamasher is a great way to play around with U.S. data. CO2 emissions and Obama voters, unemployed and overweight, public spending and reading skills…. Anything conspicuous or striking? It is so easy to make up your own maps with the supplied data, only you need to think about what could make sense.
A European project isdata maps, again a map-based approach to visualize data, and right now Europe is all there, with Vienna, London and Paris down to districts. Language can be adapted to your needs!
A nice visualization of energy statistic by open energy is here.
Here at reegle we are working on ourdata.reegle.info portal; and we already have a good amount of energy relevant data there for you.
With this amount of data becoming available to us it is important to structure and catalogue documents it in a way that makes it retrievable – not only by humans but also by machines! This is where thesauri can come in as an instrument of choice to do just that, and help machines to make sense of the data we need. Right now I am working on a Climate Compatible Development Thesaurus for reegle in collaboration with the CDKN (Climate Compatible Development Network), and after building and using the Renewable Energy Thesaurus reegle is set to become a real avant-garde tool for open energy data. Nice side-effects of having a hand-crafted thesaurus to structure and catalogue is that we now have improved our intelligent web search and extended ourspecialist glossaryoffering definitions from reegle and wikipedia as well as a visualisation of relations of a subject. Well as I said, I am currently working on extending this to Climate Compatible Development, and I will keep you updated on the on-goings!
In the meantime, enjoy playing around with open data!