Tuesday, January 09, 2007

data, data and more data

There is a goal out there to create the ultimate online data universe, where all datasets in the world can ‘talk’ to each other. It's a worthwhile goal, yet it is important to note that it is difficult in ways that are not necessarily technical. There is this myth out there that data is a commodity. Yet all data is not created equal. Even identical data from different sources can differ in accuracy, veracity, context and explanation. That is important to keep in mind when you see projects that attempt to create this semi-mythical (for now) data nexus.

That all came to mind because I was playing with one site attempting to create such a place: swivel.com, which bills itself as the ‘youtube for data’. It’s a good attempt but clearly has a long way to go. To give it a test I have put up a bit of data on unemployment rate in Pittsburgh.

With much more limited goals you may want to look at some of the links I put on the right hand of this web page with some projects going on that attempt to do some similar things for Pittsburgh specific data. These include the http://www.pghnis.pitt.edu/. Either the GIS version or a tabular data versions. Also the Pittsburgh Indicators Project deals with many of the same issues that this swivel project clearly is grappling with.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thanks for the post on Swivel. We do indeed have a long, long way go. And thanks for uploading the Pittsburgh unemployment data.

I found some data on my hometown, Detroit, and uploaded it too. Then I compared it with Pittsburgh. The graph is here. Looks like the Steel City is doing better than Motown.

Brian Mulloy
CEO & Cofounder

Tuesday, January 09, 2007 5:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can't wait to try it out. As for the visual display of data, you might want to check out A Periodic Table of Visualization Methods.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007 9:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey there,
long time reader, first time commenter. :)

do you know where one could obtain port authority bus layers (for GIS)? i know they exist out there somewhere! i am jonesin' for some good geo-demographic analysis in this PAT debacle. and if it doesn't exist already, i'd like to do it myself.

-Natalia (natpgh at gmail dot com)

Friday, January 26, 2007 1:44:00 PM  

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