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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

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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tuesday >

Weekly Readings: What the Govt Wants to Know

A roundup of interesting reads and stories from around the web. GO

Russia to Treat Bloggers Like Mass Media Because "the F*cking Journalists Won't Stop Writing"

The worldwide debate over who is and who isn't a journalist has raged since digital media made it much easier for citizen journalists and other “amateurs” to compete with the big guys. In the United States, journalists are entitled to certain protections under the law, such as the right to confidential sources. As such, many argue that blogging should qualify as journalism because independent writers deserve the same legal protections as corporate employees. In Russia, however, earning a place equal to mass media means additional regulations and obligations, which some say will lead to the repression of free speech.

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Politics for People: Demanding Transparent and Ethical Lobbying in the EU

Today the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU) launched a campaign called Politics for People that asks candidates for the European Parliament to pledge to stand up to secretive industry lobbyists and to advocate for transparency. The Politics for People website connects voters with information about their MEP candidates and encourages them to reach out on Facebook, Twitter or by email to ask them to sign the pledge.

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monday >

Security Agencies Given Full Access to Telecom Data Even Though "All Lebanese Can Not Be Suspects"

In late March, Lebanese government ministers granted security agencies unrestricted access to telecommunications data in spite of some ministers objections that it violates privacy rights. Global Voices reports that the policy violates Lebanon's existing surveillance and privacy law, Law 140, but has gotten little coverage from the country's mainstream media.

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