I'm co-founder of a digital agency called Your Neighbours. We're focused on webdesign and datavisualizations. We're also co-founders of HackdeOverheid, an event where we try to disclose open government data. Using data, we also make data visualizations.
Since the beginning of mankind, storytelling has always been very important. Whether you talk, write, try to understand something or even when someone is breaking up with you the storytelling is important. More on that later. It's important to find data.
What do you think this is? (...) This is generated from the last letter my girlfriend told me when she broke up with me.
Collecting data can also be as really nice way to make invisible things more visible. It shows me the places I visited, but more importantly, it shows me where I haven&#x2019;t been. And Foursquare also helps me to find new friends, food recommendations and new bars.
Or I can check my Carbon footprint using Dopplr. Fact is; I'm trying to record as much as I can from data that already exists using all kinds of services. Too bad, a lot of other data is a lot harder to acquire.
Napoleon had a story to tell when he went to Moscow. He started out with 422.000 people on his march to Moscow, and ended up with 10.000 people who returned. What is nice, is not these numbers, but how they found their dead. Rivers, temperature and deceases can all be understand from this graphic. Tufte called it one of the best infographics ever.
The truth is, Napoleon did a lot more cool stuff with data than a lot of other armed forces are right now. Wouldn&#x2019;t it be great if we could use the same data today to make things visible?
This is an datavisualization we've made for a big Dutch Magazine, it's visualizing the amount of nuclear warheads in the world. Every line is one warhead and the size of the line is the range from ground missile bases. But there is a lot of data we used which is not accurate.
I&#x2019;ve spent 4 hours just to find a dataset that is up-to-date. In the end we had to work with a dataset up to 2006 which The Guardian data blog provided us. Generally, it&#x2019;s really hard finding useful data that is trustworthy, not locked up in weird formats and accessible. The problem is that a lot of data is actually already &#x2018;public data&#x2019;, not accessible or unusable.
With Hack the Government, we try to change that. It&#x2019;s an initiative to get more data and to build useful things out of it. It's an event where we bring together developers, journalists, designers and the government. Within one or two days, we try to free data as much as we can. We make api's, publish data and build applications with the data.
Finding government data can be an extreme tedious task to do. While there are some platforms that provide data, the data is often of bad quality and locked in pdf's and flash. With Hackthegovernment, we intend to change that.
When we don't have the data, we'll try to scrape the data. The records of every registered company was only available throughout the day. We scraped the data and made it public so that everyone can find information 24/7.
One of the goals, is to make data more contextual and useful for everyone. There is a lot to be done with the data and there are many new ways to use the data. At the moment, we are trying to connect developers with journalists to see where investigative journalism can use opendata to tell new stories.
Smarter governments, gives you more control on what you do. Using data is a part of democracy and it&#x2019;s what you paid for. It helps people to be involved in governments on a complete new level.
Using Open Street Map, you can make contributions to existing data to make it better. This is also a reason why opendata works so well. Because feedback can help improve existing datasets. This is an Open Street Map with a &#x2018;shell&#x2019; from Cloudmade that was done by Stamen design in San Fransisco. using these tools, you can make maps personal. And personal data is nice.
haiti maps (http://itoworld.blogspot.com/2010/02/ito-world-at-ted-2010-project-haiti.html)