In my more recent interactions with government I’ve been discovering a number of cases where policy people lament that they don’t have access to various “tools” that would let them explore things that matter to them. These range from data visualizers (“I wish I could explore my data better and make quick and dirty infographics”) to social media tools (“How do I track a twitter stream better”) and to “data search” tools (“How do I know whether the EPA facilities database tracks so and so?” “Does anybody have that data?”)
We here at RPI have been developing a number of demos using technologies that help us to do rapid demonstrations and some powerful tools (see the p.s. below) but we are looking for ideas that can really help policy folks. If you have anything you really wish you could see or do, let us know (comments to this post are a good way to start) – we’d love to figure out what we could do next that could really help policy-makers make better decisions.
Jim Hendler, RPI
(http://www.cs.rpi.edu/~hendler has my contact info if you prefer that means)
p.s. To see what we’ve been up to, check out http://logd.tw.rpi.edu/demos and, if you’re not limited to IE, try http://logd.tw.rpi.edu/demo/international_dataset_catalog_search and scroll to the left – click on the various facets or type keywords to quickly search for over 300,000 datasets from around the world.