Code for America, another nonprofit, is made up of web geeks, city experts, and technology industry leaders. They are building a network of civic leaders and organizations who believe there is a better way of doing things and want to make a difference. One app that is now in use in four major centres in the US, allows citizens to adopt fire hydrants buried in winter snowstorms.
A recent open data challenge resulted in a real-time map, showing the location of all trains on the London underground.
The demands from this community is for real-time linkages to existing managed databases. The data must be current and accurate.
Business AnalyticsAs an aside, IBM is supporting big business through their Advanced Analytics to mine the masses of unstructured data they have at their fingertips. We have no lack of information in this new age. What is missing is the talent to interpret the great masses of information in to comprehensive models and graphics so we can learn their story. I believe that there is an untapped talent of data hounds who know how to ask the right questions and leverage that information to new insights about business, customers and the environment.
Openness - Privacy Threat?While data hounds call for open access, the public is ever more aware of their privacy rights. People rightly want to be informed when information about them is being requested by third parties. This creates new tensions, as data by its nature is fluid. It is easy to grant access. As we browse the internet for instance, our hits and habits are tracked by literally hundreds of entities. Gary Kovacs has created a Firefox add-on that tracks the trackers.
While it is easy to share, it is much harder to parse information to satisfy privacy requests. That's not to mean we it is impossible to put the appropriate safeguards in place, or that we should reject all requests for greater data access.
The public can be surprisingly open, however, when asked for their permission. Just this past week, British Columbians expressed their willingness to share masses of historical health information, to provide the opportunity for new insights. All they ask is that the information be protected so that it cannot be tracked back to the individual. Read more, "Survey shows B.C. health database could be a wellspring for researchers - 80 per cent of British Columbians onside to share their information — but only anonymously".