You are currently browsing the archive for the web category.

The Whole Internet:

Yes, we map all 4,294,967,296 IP addresses onto a huge image and let you zoom into it and pan around. Just like google maps, but more internetty.


Zipskinny.com … enter a (US) zip code, get census data, and other goodies. Very nice. Does anyone know how much would it cost to pay statscanada for a license to do something similar in Canada?

The World Freedom Atlas is:

an online geo-visualization tool that shows a number of freedom indicators so to speak. For example, you can map by a number of indexes such as raw political rights score, civil liberties, political imprisonment, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, or torture. If I’ve counted correctly the data comes from 42 datasets divided into three categories:

[from the wonderfully-named blog, flowingdata.com]

Spacingmontreal.ca and spacingtoronto.ca are:

your hub for daily dispatches from the streets of Toronto/Montreal to cities around the world, offering both analysis and a forum for discussion. Our contributors examine city hall, architecture, urban planning, public transit, transportation infrastructure and just about anything that involves the public realm of our cities.

Both blogs are published by spacing magazine.


This is a bit off-topic, but spiritually related to the mission of datalibre.ca … MoveMyData.org. From the “about”:

Your content and data should be yours to manage and do with as you please. Your images, writing, tags, profile, blog entries, comments, testimonials, video, and music should be yours to download and move anyplace you want.

We will help ensure that no website ever holds your data hostage.


I have not played with it yet, but I love the idea.

  1. Accessing literature,
  2. obtaining materials,
  3. and sharing data.

Science is a collaborative endeavour and these 3 roadblocks are impeding scientific discovery according to John Wilbanks, executive director of the Science Commons initiative, founder of the Semantic Web for Life Sciences project and the Neurocommons.

Another great American project, Fedspending.org is:

a free, searchable database of federal government spending…. With over $14 trillion in federal spending, this more open and accessible tool for citizens to find out where federal money goes and who gets it is long overdue. We believe this website is a good first step toward providing that access.

The project is run by OBM Watch, a “a nonprofit government watchdog organization located in Washington, DC. Our mission is to promote open government, accountability and citizen participation.” Funded by the very busy Sunlight Foundation.

Jon Udell has been writing about public data a fair bit of late (and he’s agreed to do an interview with us, coming sometime soon). In his latest post, he puts into practice an interesting theory, that good data presented in the right way is a kind of performance art. He demonstrates with a recent hobby horse of his, crime data from his hometown of Keene, which he runs through in a screencast with narration.

Jon’s inspiration for this style of presenting data is Hans Rosling, whose past two TED Talks made data sexy for many who never thought they might consider sexy and data in the same universe.

What Rosling and Udell are illustrating is the sort of thing that governments don’t seem to have time or interest in doing: presenting data in a way that average people can grasp. By doing that, our communities will necessarily become much better at making sensible decisions, for instance about how and where to spend money. There is no reason why governments can’t be doing this too … but more importantly, there is no reason why taxayers should not get access to this kind of data. With the data, citizen can find new and innovative ways of displaying and using the data (meaning the government doesn’t have to), which, if one has faith in data, people and democracy, should translate to better decision-making in the community.

We’re planning to do some email interviews about citizen access to government data and related projects with academics, hackers, web project instigators, statisticians, activists, politicians, bureaucrats, writers and the like.

Our first interview is with Rami Tabello, of IllegalSigns.ca – Tracking Toronto’s Outdoor Advertising Industry, a Toronto-based, grassroots project set up to fight illegal billboards. Says the about:

Our Streets are where civic capital is created. Illegal billboards monetize our civic capital, under no colour of right, by treating citizens as consumers first. Illegal billboards commodify what is unique about our neighbourhoods by turning our Streets into pages of a mass-market magazine, without regard to the law. Join us as we fight to legalize and democratize Toronto’s visual environment. Join us as we fight to Reclaim the Streets.

And here is the interview:

1. What do you think of the state of democracy in Canada?
I donÂ’’t much think about it. I think the British Parliamentary system tends towards stability.

2. What do you think of the state of democracy in Toronto?
The problem in Toronto is not lack of democracy, it’Â’s a public service that doesnÂ’’t work and doesn’t hire the right people.

3. How do you think the mechanisms of democracy can be improved?
I have no idea. David Meslin is working on a project to bring instant runoff voting to Toronto: Whorunsthistown.to.

4. Are you optimistic? Why?
IÂ’’m optimistic because city councilors want to do something about illegal billboards.

5. Why did you start illegalsigns.ca?
More of a challenge than anything. An easy way to make a big difference to the visual environment.

6. What tools do you use in illegalsigns.ca?
Our main tools are freedom of information inquiries. We have been barred from that process. Please see: The City Clerk Tries to Shut Down Our Research Team [ed: well worth a read * see below]. We are currently appealing this to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner.

7. What has been the public reaction to your project?
Nothing but positive feedback from the public, the media and city councilors.

8. What has been the reaction from the City?
On the other hand, the bureaucracy has reacted negatively, mainly because we are a source of criticism. See above.

9. What other similar projects would you like to see in Toronto or Canada?
WeÂ’’d like to see a site that tracks illegal parking lots. Illegalparkinglots.ca. half the lots in Toronto are illegal.

*Illegalsigns.ca has filed hundreds of freedom of information claims to get the information on hundreds of signs they claim, and indeed have proved to be illegal. The reaction of Toronto’s City Clerk, is to ban them from the process (see review here, and the Clerk’s letter here-pdf). The Clerk claims the requests are “frivolous and/or vexations,” which means the City might not have to respond. Here’s the key summary about dealings with Toronto’s City Clerk:

The Clerk claims: “the high volume of your requests appears to be for the sole purpose of revisiting enforcement policy matters that City enforcement staff have already addressed with you.” In fact, the high volume of our requests is due to the high volume of properties in Toronto that have illegal billboards on them; this high volume was created because the bureaucracy was operating without scrutiny. The Clerk’s decision, if upheld, would shut down that scrutiny.


Mix up and make pretty your data at Swivel:

Swivel’s mission is to liberate the world’s data and make it useful so new insights can be discovered and shared…

We believe data is most valuable when it’s out in the open where everyone can see it, debate it, have fun, and share new insights. Swivel is applying the power of the Web to data so that life gets better.

UPDATE: The graph below is titled: “The iPhone: did it shake up the phone market?”, and can be found here, with some added context/


Newer entries »