Thursday, June 1, 2017

Data is Beautiful! An Annual Conference Session Preview

A tech dispatch from Mel Reeder, chief information officer at the League:

"Data is beautiful," as the saying goes. What does this mean? Government entities have a lot of public data. Until recently, this data just piled up in files, maps, and computer storage systems. But with today’s technology tools, city data can now be mined for all sorts of valuable and beautiful outcomes. The opportunities are endless.

Two points come to mind when I think about beautiful data: is it usable and who should get it?

Of course, it’s usable, right? Not necessarily. It doesn’t help to dump all that data on your city website either in gobbledygook form or worse, a gobbledygook pdf. Data is no good if it cannot be handled, broken down, and put together in different ways by others. Data needs to be indexed and sorted in a way that the public and city staff can interpret and then “mash-up” for their own analysis.

This leads to my second point. Who should have access to this data? Answer: everyone! By posting public data it provides everyone a chance to use it, be creative and even create beautiful data. Yes, beautiful! Online communities are popping up all over the world. These coders and data analysts want to use and display your data in new and exciting ways. By providing the data, you promote creativity. (See some beautiful examples below!)

How does this relate to you? The League of Minnesota Cities Annual Conference is just around the corner, and we have lined up a treat for you. Speakers from the MN Geospatial Information Office and MN Office of Broadband will be presenting Using Data in City Planning & Decision Making. Attend this educational session on Thursday, June 15 from 10:15-11:15 a.m. to get ideas about deploying Border-to-Border broadband in your city, using data from other cities, and most importantly, sharing data with your community so it can be used by others to create a smart and connected city. 

 And the eye-candy examples, as promised:

This beautiful data can be found on www.informationisbeautiful.net here:


This beautiful data can be found on www.census.gov here:


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