Join 3,556 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


The Guardian Data Store Competition
June 12, 2009 2:40 AM   Subscribe

The Guardian Datastore is running a competition for the best visualizations, mashups and applications built with and for the data in their datastore. Amongst other things, they currently have the latest data on MP's expenses, world booze consumption and two centuries of bio diversity data from Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire.

Guardian editor-in-chief Alan Rusbriger explains why data and the Guardian Datastore matters, and for the sake of balance a dissenting voice.
(previously)
posted by johnny novak (6 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
At the risk of sounding fuddy-duddy, building funky visualizations and so forth is great, but without giving users a great way of navigating to the information it's kinda besides the point.

In the organization I work for, we're dealing with several issues in this area - one of which is displaying information more clearly and intuitively; but the most pressing one issues is the twin tensions of customization and categorization because increasingly the problem isn't that we don't have the answer, but that users can't find the answer, or can't find it quickly enough.
posted by MuffinMan at 3:12 AM on June 12, 2009


Previously on Metafilter

Or you can just mainline the stuff.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 5:45 AM on June 12, 2009


Kid Charlemagne, that video is pretty spiffy.

Too bad the "200 years of biodiversity data" is full of two-digit years. Though in fairness to the Guardian, a person who's going to look at it enough to make a visualization is probably a better candidate to clean it up than the flunky they paid to post it online.
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 7:20 AM on June 12, 2009


Yeah, I though so too.

I love this kind of thing when it's done well. Unfortunately, it can be done poorly and, if you're a weasel, done to deliberately misdirect.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 9:37 AM on June 12, 2009


At the risk of sounding fuddy-duddy, building funky visualizations and so forth is great, but without giving users a great way of navigating to the information it's kinda besides the point.
You'll be glad to hear that one of the competition categories is for "the best user experience for understanding meaning in data".

I work for the Guardian and I think the Data Store is one of our most exciting current projects. A lot of the data in there is extremely difficult to find elsewhere. To give a recent example, the European election results dataset took our journalists a day and a half to assemble - the results are only published in aggregate, so if you want a detailed breakdown you have to call round all 50+ local authorities individually.

The more people building cool stuff with the data the more incentive there will be for journalists at the paper to get involved.
posted by simonw at 4:56 PM on June 12, 2009


Ah ha, I might have known that the people involved with the Datastore were Mefites.

I think what you're doing is excellent, and I hope it's something the Guardian sticks with, as I can see it might take a while for people to understand and exploit this resource.

Perhaps a "how to" area on the site might help, e.g. this excellent post on how to create mashups from Wikipedia with minimal technical knowledge (also from oUseful). It might be an idea to do a few screen casts, with walkthroughs of the same type of content.

I also reckon the site should showcase the latest and best visualizations, pour encourager les autres.

Anyway, leaving UI issues to one side, I think it's a great project, and I hope the competition goes well.
posted by johnny novak at 2:17 AM on June 13, 2009


« Older After one performer tested positive this week, 16 ...  |  Science fiction writers have a... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments