ODTV Video of the Week: Using Data to Answer Questions

June 12, 2015 7:29 am PST | Effective Governing

Ben Wellington, who runs the popular blog I Quant NY, has harnessed the power of data to do many things for New Yorkers: discover when rush hour occurs (turns out, it lasts far longer than an hour), where not to swim, and the City’s most dangerous intersections for bicyclists.

In this week’s featured ODTV video, Wellington provides the data version of “Behind the Music,” explaining  the origins of data about New York. In the case of the data that led to Wellington’s map of New York’s rush “hour,” the information became available when a man walking into the Taxi and Limousine Commission with a brand new hard drive and a FOIL request.

We can do better at releasing data and making it available online, Wellington believes. And, it’s not only in residents’ best interests, but in the government’s as well. “A lot of people see open data as being a watch dog. It’s not,” says Wellington. “It’s about being a partner. We can empower our citizens to be better partners for government, and it’s not that hard.”

Watch the full video for an engaging look at how data can be leveraged to answer interesting questions, and to see Wellington’s take on how to decide which data to release, as well as how to format it, and why normalization is so important. For more great videos on how open data is serving residents, browse our video library.


Want more? Download our Getting Started with Open Data Guide.



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