Largely under the radar (or at least under my radar), the Brookings Institution's Metropolitan Policy Program has been producing some very interesting data visualizations to complement their research.
My New America colleagues and I are excited to be working with Data Without Borders to host their Washington, DC, DataDive.
More details are at http://datawithoutborders.cc/events/dcdatadive/ -- learn more, and sign up to attend!
Today New America launched a new "Map of the Week" dataviz feature with Slate. Each Thursday, we'll be working together to map some policy or social story of note.
The first edition details the explosion of mobile-phone subscriptions around the globe -- and hints at how those growth rates alone aren't enough to transform development efforts in Africa and elsewhere. (These issues were explored in more detail today at our Global Assets Project/Open Technology Initiative event, "Mobile Disconnect: Can Mobile Solutions Really Combat Global Poverty?").
For the complete picture, go to Slate.com.
Last week, FlowingData's Nathan Yau featured this great interactive map by Diego Valle-Jones. The map, with its rich data and myriad filters and options, is well worth showcasing -- be sure to check it out at http://www.diegovalle.net/drug-war-map.html.
What really caught my eye, however, were the explanations that Valle-Jones included, and what they and the map together reveal about the real-world challenges of in-depth data visualization.
Among the things worth noting:
Policy Paper, New America Foundation
Hidden in all the bad news about California’s troubles is this delightful paradox: Californians, while living in a state that experts say is ungovernable, have within their reach new tools that give them greater power to govern themselves than ever before.
Technology is the reason. Often with little public notice or scrutiny, most of California’s 5,000-some local governments are experimenting with technologies to engage the public and improve services. The sophistication of this use of digital technologies for citizen interaction — referred to as eGovernment, digital government, or Government 2.0 — varies. The benefits are wide-ranging.
You can go on-line to have the city police in Santa Clarita check on your home while you’re on vacation. In Pebble Beach, you can add yourself to the Community Services District’s database of local people that need special assistance in the event of an emergency evacuation. You can schedule a visit to your cousin in jail via the Santa Clara County web site or public kiosks. If you need to appear in court or qualify yourself for social services in Nevada County, you can avoid long drives over windy, snowy roads by finding one of the 60 county video cameras set up for direct conferencing with local government. And if you’re a truant in Anaheim, you can avoid school reassignment or prosecution by carrying a hand-held tracking device, provided by your school district and the city police, that monitors your location throughout the day.
As Thursday’s congressional hearing and the Army’s own investigation have made clear, the dysfunctions at Arlington Cemetery go much deeper than the antiquated record-keeping. Yet that lack of a real tracking and mapping system clearly contributed to the errors detailed by Washington Post reporters -- and the fact that 11 years, 35 contracts and $5.5 million have failed to produce a usable database is appalling in its own right.
OK, this is ridiculous. In the interim since my last post, I could have had a baby -- except, y'know, for that whole being-male thing.
So this post is to officially shame myself into re-thinking and re-tooling the site. Either start posting again, or change things around to pull in my updates from elsewhere. Or maybe both.
Looks like Google is serious about that whole "organize the world's information and make it universally accessible" thing.
I did a quick interview yesterday with Etopia News Now on feed-in tariffs and the event New America is convening Friday in partnership with the Washington Monthly: