Open Government Data

…the book

Josh Tauber (the guy behind GovTrack) recently wrote a book on Open Government Data. I think the chapter where he walks through the process of scraping and building a visualization is great, this kind of thing should be required reading for all non-coders who are interested in technology and transparency issues. It walks through really practical examples of why formats matter. Also liked the figure on the right for locating the strengths of various types of data formats with respect to intended use. Makes the great point that a “high-quality” electronic document isn’t always better for some purposes.
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Plane Old Networks

This is a catchall post to collect together a number of interesting network images I’ve run across in the last few years. The common feature is that they are all networks that are based in or arise from geography or spatial processes. Unlike most of the networks we often have to work with, these are mostly “planar” (or nearly so) meaning that they can usually be drawn in two dimensions with minimal crossing and distortion.

The map itself

In The Network Analysis of Urban Streets: a Dual Approach Sergio Porta, Paolo Crucitti and Vito Latora convert city streets to networks and examine some of their properties. Figure 2 of the paper below

The six 1-square mile samples of urban patterns (above) and their primal graphs (below): 1. Ahmedabad; 2. Barcelona; 3. San Francisco; 4. Venezia; 5. Wien; 6. Walnut Creek. Cities are so diverse that, at a first sight, it seems hard to imagine that they share any common — though hidden — pattern, which is what they actually do.

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Adventures with J. P. Morgan and Form 13F

Image of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co's Q42010 security ownership network

Inspired in part by recent work for a client, I finally got around to pulling a long night to play with some Form 13F data from the SEC. This pdf image shows significant ownership relations for J. P. Morgan at the end of 2010. Or at least I think it does. I’d love to hear from anyone who knows more about these types of financial filings.
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Are Your Cookies Colluding?

I recently installed Mozilla’s Collusion add-on for Firefox. It maps out the set of information-sharing relationships between sites as you visit them and they install various 3rd-party-cookies to track your browsing history. Has a neat interactive network viz as a browser plugin where so you can highlight sites you’ve visit and who they reported to.

This image was after a week of low-intensity computer use. Not that surprising to see Google, Facebook and Twitter as very central nodes, tho still impressive to have an image of how many sites report to them. Some sites like I’d at least heard of before, but not some of the other central stats players like or or that appeared lurking in the network.

The visualization seems to be built in SVG using the D3 library’s network code. The interactivity and design are quite lovely, at least for small networks. However, now that I’ve been running Collusion for a month, the graph is quite large and the animation is getting painfully slow and eating my CPU.

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NYT Network Narrative

The folks at the New York Times continue to produce awesome data visualisations for their stories. Recently they’ve been splitting production to produce both print (above) and online interactive versions (below) of their figures. This is great, because it makes it possible to design for the strengths and weaknesses of each medium. The interactive version of the the Overview of the Euro Debt Crises viz is also really nice because the the column on the left allows selective hi-lighting of different elments of the network corresponding to various parts of the narrative. And its all in SVG! (via Ronald Rice)

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Angels of the Right – version 2.0

I’ve been working for the past several months to build a new interactive version of the conservative philanthropy network data from the Media Matters Conservative Transparency Project and other sources. The idea is to have an atlas where you can dive in, explore, and see which organisations have similar patterns of funding relationships. As always, my hope is to make some of these invisible economic and power relationships a bit more tangible.
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Atlas of Economic Complexity

I just saw this lovely network map of the “product space” of exports (Atlas of Economic Complexity, via Infosthetics). The idea is to reveal what types of products are related to each other in the sense that there are common economic competencies need to produce them.

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Embedding Webs on the Web

Caribbean researchers keyword network in ManyEyes tool
I’ve created a page to compare various tools for embedding a network diagram on the web. I used a small example set of researchers’ keyword associations. As always, browser compatibility is a big challenge. Most of the options I tested required a fair amount of web coding ability to get them working. I’d love to hear about other tools and ideas I may have missed.

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Data Viz presentation at Impact 2.0, Kingston Jamaica

coverpage from impact 2.0 presentation

I just gave a talk at a conference on New mechanisms for linking research & policy. I’m posting the pdf of the slides here, which include some links to various examples and a few resources. Thanks to Comunica, IDRC, Panos Caribbean and all of the conference participants. Since the slides have links, but no commentary, I’ll try to develop this into a full post later.

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Sqooshing data onto a map

tableau public geomapping example
I just spent some time comparing various tools for publishing web visualizations of region-coded data. I looked at some Google tools, ManyEyes, and Tableau Public. This is what I learned using my demo example. Please let me know of any other tools I should test…

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