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WeGov

Gov'ts Hoarding Data Lose Out On Potential Revenue

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, January 21 2014

Screenshot of the gRoads Global Map

Open data is all the rage these days, but many governments are still reluctant to release geospatial data, perhaps because of the impulse to try and recoup some of the high costs of collecting it. However, experts say that this is stifling innovation and damming potential revenue streams.

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Mapping New Yorkers' Reports of Hurricane Sandy Damage

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, October 31 2012

The city releases data on 311 calls on its open data portal every afternoon between 2 and 3 p.m. This afternoon, that data release included calls placed Monday and early Tuesday as Hurricane Sandy whipped up floodwaters, shut off power and blew over trees throughout the city. The data paint a sobering picture of the damage. Arranged by complaint type, New Yorkers as of early Tuesday had placed 5,102 reports of damaged trees, warned of malfunctioning traffic signals 1,074 times, notified the city in 642 instances of an overflowing or otherwise broken sewer drain, and complained of broken street lights 325 times. That's just the bulk of 8,564 reports placed between Sunday and Tuesday for which data is available. It's likely that later data releases will raise that number even higher. Read More

WeGov

Interactive Map Tracks Defections of High Ranking Syrians

BY Lisa Goldman | Thursday, September 20 2012

Screenshot of Aljazeera's interactive map of Syrian defections.

As Syria's civil war rages on, with no end in sight, defections of high ranking citizens — government officials and arm officers — continues. An interactive map produced by Aljazeera English tracks the defections, provides context and details. It's an excellent resource for Syria watchers. Read More

If a New Country Comes to Africa and Google Doesn't Map It, Does It Still Exist?

BY Nick Judd | Friday, September 23 2011

South Sudan as it now appears in Google Earth. After the U.N. recognized the Republic of South Sudan as a member state, Google has added it to Google Maps and Google Earth. South Sudan remained off the the map for well ... Read More

Is There a 'Hardly Anyone Uses Foursquare' Badge?

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, September 7 2011

Americans are still tuned out from the check-in. A study released yesterday by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that a paltry seven percent of all adults have their phones set to automatically tag their ... Read More

Gaming the Googlization of Everything

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, September 6 2011

Google has become so important to American business and society that the ease with which a business can be falsely reported closed on Google's location-based service, Google Places, now warrants a detailed, font-page ... Read More

Checkspotting: Here's a Map of Republican Presidential Candidates' Fund-Raising Hauls

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, August 25 2011

Development Seed's Dave Cole just shared this map he made of fund-raising by candidates for the Republican presidential nomination, built using their open-source TileMill mapping software. Read More

UK Home Office Considers Mapping Faces of Criminals

BY Nick Judd | Monday, June 27 2011

The United Kingdom's Police.uk crime mapping website may be expanded to include photographs of offenders and more details about their offences, the BBC reported Sunday. The BBC gave a tip of the hat to the Sunday Times, ... Read More

Fighting Harassment by Mapping People Who Help the Harassed

BY Nick Judd | Friday, June 24 2011

Hollaback!'s map of New York City. Each pink dot denotes a spot where someone reported that a woman was harassed in public. Hollaback!, the web-based organization trying to end catcalling and other street harassment of ... Read More

Wandering the U.S.'s 'Food Deserts'

BY Nick Judd | Monday, May 2 2011

The USDA today released a new web application called Food Desert Locator, which provides census tract-level mapping of areas "where a substantial number or share of residents has low access to a supermarket or large ... Read More

News Briefs

RSS Feed tuesday >

Ruck.us Reboots As a Candidate Digital Toolkit That's a Bit Too Like Democracy.com

Ruck.us launched with big ambitions and star appeal, hoping to crack the code on how to get millions of people to pool their political passions through their platform. When that ambition stalled, its founder Nathan Daschle--son of the former Senator--decided to pivot to offering political candidates an easy-to-use free web platform for organizing and fundraising. Now the new Ruck.us is out from stealth mode, entering a field already being served by competitors like NationBuilder, Salsa Labs and Democracy.com. And strangely enough, Ruck.us seems to want its early users to ask Democracy.com for help. GO

Armenian Legislators: You Can Be As Anonymous on the 'Net As You Like—Until You Can't

A proposed bill in Armenia would make it illegal for media outlets to include defamatory remarks by anonymous or fake sources, and require sites to remove libelous comments within 12 hours unless they identify the author.

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monday >

The Good Wife Looks for the Next Snowden and Outwits the NSA

Even as the real Edward Snowden faces questions over his motives in Russia, another side of his legacy played out for the over nine million viewers of last night's The Good Wife, which concluded its season long storyline exploring NSA surveillance. In the episode titled All Tapped Out, one young NSA worker's legal concerns lead him to becoming a whistle-blower, setting off a chain of events that allows the main character, lawyer Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies), and her husband, Illinois Governor Peter Florrick (Chris Noth), to turn the tables on the NSA using its own methods. GO

The Expanding Reach of China's Crowdsourced Environmental Monitoring Site, Danger Maps

Last week billionaire businessman Jack Ma, founder of the e-commerce company Alibaba, appealed to his “500 million-strong army” of consumers to help monitor water quality in China. Inexpensive testing kits sold through his company can be used to measure pH, phosphates, ammonia, and heavy metal levels, and then the data can be uploaded via smartphone to the environmental monitoring site Danger Maps. Although the initiative will push the Chinese authorities' tolerance for civic engagement and activism, Ethan Zuckerman has high hopes for “monitorial citizenship” in China.

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The 13 Worst Bits of Russia's Current and Maybe Future Internet Legislation

It appears that Russia is on the brink of passing still more repressive Internet regulations. A new telecommunications bill that would require popular blogs—those with 3,000 or more visits a day—to join a government registry and conform to government-mandated standards is expected to pass this week. What follows is a list of the worst bits of both proposed and existing Russian Internet law. Let us know in the comments or on Twitter if we missed anything.

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Transparency and Public Shaming: Pakistan Tackles Tax Evasion

In Pakistan, where only one in 200 citizens files their income tax return, authorities published a directory of taxpayers' details for the first time. Officials explained the decision as an attempt to shame defaulters into paying up.

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wednesday >

Facebook Seeks Approval as Financial Service in Ireland. Is the Developing World Next?

On April 13 the Financial Times reported that Facebook is only weeks away from being approved as a financial service in Ireland. Is this foray into e-money motivated by Facebook's desire to conquer the developing world before other corporate Internet giants do? Maybe.

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The Rise and Fall of Iran's “Blogestan”

The robust community of Iranian bloggers—sometimes nicknamed “Blogestan”—has shrunk since its heyday between 2002 – 2010. “Whither Blogestan,” a recent report from the University of Pennsylvania's Iran Media Program sought to find out how and why. The researchers performed a web crawling analysis of Blogestan, survey 165 Persian blog users, and conducted 20 interviews with influential bloggers in the Persian community. They found multiple causes of the decline in blogging, including increased social media use and interference from authorities.

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