Data on the Internet

Activity One: Data as an Asset

With the same partner from last week, come up with 2 ways that the company you selected in week one can differentiate themselves using the data they collect and manage. Write up your responses to the two questions below. (Note that you will continue to build on the document you create as you complete the next two activities.)

  1. Are they treating their data as an asset? Why do you say this?
  2. How could they better leverage their data as an asset?

Activity Two: Data-Based Search

WolframAlpha is a a new(ish) search engine that uses public data for search. It takes a very different approach to search than sites like Google or Bing. Take some time to explore the site and write up a "cheat sheet" that lists 5 things that make Wolfram Alpha different from Google.

http://www.wolframalpha.com/

Activity Three: The Power of Combining Data

There are many different approaches to the storage and display of data on the internet. Hundreds of databases are available to the public on just about every topic. In this activity, we'll explore different ways that data is made available over the internet.

Data Mashups

The real power of data comes from combining information from two or more different sources. The articles and quotes below provide examples and evidence of the "whole greater than the sum of the parts" aspect of combining data.

MashUps Defined
"…hordes of volunteer programmers are taking it upon themselves to combine and remix the data and services of unrelated, even competing sites. The result: entirely new offerings they call "mash-ups." They're the Web versions of Reese's ("Hey, you got peanut butter on my chocolate!") Peanut Butter Cups."

NYC GIS: http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2004/02/62131 (Wired Magazine)
"Overlays NYC streets with various data like floor plans, street blockage, vehicle weight restrictions, power lines, etc. It even plots out the streets with the most garbage, which rankles the sanitation engineers union."
"The system, known as the Citywide Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Utility, combines aerial photography, census figures, crime statistics and other information submitted by city agencies and local utilities. Any or all of it can be overlaid on an interactive map that is so detailed it shows curb lines, trees, wires, traffic rules and vehicle height restrictions."

Article: "Mashups mix data into global service"

Article: "Mix, Match, and Mutate" (Business Week)

For this activity, review public data sources on the internet. Working with your partner, come up with an example of a new "service" that would combine data from two or more of the datasets below. Write a short summary (one paragraph) of your service for submission to complete this lab and be prepared to present your service concept at the beginning of our lab next week.

S&P 500 Historical Data
Historical Data for Intraday Daily Quotes
Economic Time Series Data
Financial Data Finder
Historical Currency Exchange Rate Data
NOAA National Digital Forecast Database
Historical Weather Data
Brain Science
World of Warcraft (WoW) Pets
Number Sequences
Entrez
Master Index to all Government Data
American Fact Finder (U.S. Census)
Data about Data: Open Dataset List

Once you've completed all three activities, submit your 3 part paper to me via Blackboard using Assignment Submission.

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