Watercooler: Open data, open hearts, open minds

This week there was a lot of talk about open data. The fulfillment of open data promises, and the many opportunities open data offers to solve myriad problems.

Here are some of the open data topics that we were chatting about in the office this week:

Balloon mapping from Mt Propsect Park (courtesy of Phillip Winn)

Author Evgeny Morozov argues that the term “open” may be have become a little too open to interpretation: “For many institutions, “open” has become the new “green.” And in the same way that companies will “greenwash” their initiatives by invoking eco-friendly window dressing to hide less-palatable practices, there has also emerged a term to describe similar efforts to read “openness” into situations and environments where it doesn’t exist: “openwashing.”.  via New York Times

“The MTA in the Age of Big Data: Transforming the Wealth of MTA Data into Accessible, Meaningful, Visual, Interactive Information” – a report from the MTA’s Permanent Citizen’s Advisory Committee via PCAC 

This week, the New York State Government launched Open New York – a state-wide open data portal. So far, 69 localities and agencies have shared their data. Here’s the launch press releasevia NYS Governor’s office.

The City of Chicago wants you to fork its data on GitHub via O’Reilly Radar 

The Data Anywhere project was developed at the #OccupyDataNYC Hackathon on March 1st & 2nd. Read the project outline. It is currently being tested for use with Hurricane Sandy relief around New York City as part of #OccupySandyvia Data Anywhere

Rats! Using historical stats to go after New York’s most persistent pests… Can data collected from Boston’s Big Dig and a pilot program in the Bronx finally drive the rat population down? via BK Bureau

TrafficCom is a proposed (physical) tool that allows anyone to easily collect automobile and bicycle traffic count data. The project is seeking funding for an improved design through Kickstarter. via Kickstarter

Andrew Hoppin, an OpenPlans board member, entered “Free Hosted Open Data Portals” to the Knight News Challenge.  A platform to provide a sustainable free open data hosting and publication service for local governments lacking the resources to deploy and maintain their own dedicated open data portal, to be built with open source software and standards-based cloud services. via Knight News Challenge

Visualization of NYC Transit turnstile counts per day. via AJ Schumacher

The Data Science for Social Good 2013 Summer Fellowship will train data scientists to tackle pressing problems in health, education, energy, cities, and more. via University of Chicago

Kotkin vs Florida… Are artists, intelluctuals and creative “types” the pioneer grasses that make new, exciting communities? Cities that actively invested in attracting these types are seeing that they are more Johnny come early’s that don’t attract as much economic activity that these cities were hoping for, writes Joel Kotkin. Not so fast, says Richard Florida. via the Daily Beast