Datamining The Government

The article is a bit old now (June 2009), but Wired had an interesting interview with Vivek Kundra about Data.gov. This is the usual Web 2.0 pitch about making data transparent and available and hoping that crowdsourcing will magically create useful things.

I will however admit to having been intrigued by the concept of one of the apps mentioned in the article:

In DC, someone combined several of the data sets released by local government—maps, liquor license info, crime statistics—into an app called Stumble Safely, which shows users the safest way to walk home when drunk.

Now someone just needs to mash it up with some augmented reality software or turn-by-turn GPS directions (“Turn left at the next corner. Stagger 2 blocks east. Try not to walk into that telephone pole.”).

Also of interest is DataMasher, which I spotted on LifeHacker. It appears to be a site for mashing up various government data sources. You can also save your own mashup and make it available to others. Looks interesting. So far, the Highest Rated and Most Discussed mashups seem to focus on health, mortality, guns, alcohol, obesity, and reproduction.

Finally, if you’ve read Freakonomics, check out this article on “bad boy” baby names as a predictor of behavior.

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