Thursday, June 12, 2008

Who should determine what data means?

Democratizing Data

A very interesting report was just released by the Princeton Centre for Information Technology Policy advocating for the increased release of government data for public consumption, and for letting independent providers, rather than government websites, dissect and present that data. We’re very big fans of both, and have spent considerable time researching the potential offered by the democratization of government-held data. In fact, as part of our Government 2.0 project we have a couple of projects in progress on this topic. Included amongst them is a short report by nGenera collaborator David Stephenson on the potential of data visualisation platforms such as Swivel, ManyEyes and Google Motion Chart. You can view one of David’s recent presentations on the topic here.

When I do a market study I use the same census bureau rehashed information that basically everyone uses, then I add my traffic counts and personal interview information, information that for the most part builds the supply side of the equation. The demand though is still going to come from demographics and some gut feel from experts. What if we had access to the actual census information though? What if no government official was in the way?

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