Chiming into a Twitter conversation today about the quality of open data portals, I wanted to explore further.
@mheadd, I'm curious to know the outliers here. Where are the positive deviants?— Ryan Wold (@randw) September 21, 2015
Mark replied that OpenDataPhilly was a strong example of what an effective data portal could look like.
So, I went looking for other data portals. How can I get a quick understanding of the current state of data portals? Googling yields CKAN, and a few commercial solutions.
The most canonical list of open data portals that I found was kindly provided as an open data-set by the Sunlight Foundation.
I wrote a small script to screenshot 162 open data portals and published the results on Flickr. Here's the code.
Quick, self-referential shot-out to auto_screenshot, which is a Ruby .gem I wrote and like to use to document web projects ; ) Check it out!
But thus far, we've just created a new, derivative data-set. A dataset of images based on the homepages of a given set of public data portals, at a given time.
What interests me in open data is the opportunities it creates to interact with and understand information in a new way. In this case, seeing many examples of data portals at a glance, helps me form an impression about a current state of affairs.
In some respects, data can enable a higher-resolution view of the world; or at least a tiny, temporary aspect of it.