Tuesday, January 1, 2013

City Narratives using Data

Open Data as Narrative

Recently Mark Headd, City of Philadelphia, posted a blog post about using data for "Urban Storytelling". This is a good way to summarize the transformation of data sets as open data to information that narrates an issue within a city. Mark and the City of Philadelphia told a story about crime within the city. The tools and the source code on GitHub are posted on Mark's blog here:

Urban Storytelling with Open Data

I thought the video showing how the visualization packed a wow impact but as Mark said also painted a sad picture of too many homicides in Philadelphia.

Here is the YouTube video of the crime data visualization by Mark Headd

That being said there is a point in using open data in this way. This is a great article supporting something we have been talking about in Raleigh. There are really two parts to open data...data as infrastructure. The city providing access to data assets the way the city provides access to physical assets. This form of open data is the normalized machine readable data sets needed by data experts for apps/APIs etc. The other side of open data is the transparency issues and democratization of data by transforming data into information for use by citizens to understand the city's narrative.