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Spectrum Dashboard, Hans Rosling and Culture Hacking

May 5, 2011

I heard about the Spectrum Dashboard at DySPAN when Doug Sicker mentioned it. It is an interesting concept though having tried the site I am not sure  how well it works yet. It seems to be part of this whole REBOOT effort. I have just cut and paste the definition of REBOOT from the official website. REBOOT .FCC .GOV is your portal to take part in improving citizen interactions with the Federal Communications Commission.  Spectrum Dashboard is part of the whole thing. Again I am cutting an pasting what they say about it on the website. The Spectrum Dashboard allows new ways for citizens to search spectrum in the United States. Use the dashboard to find out how spectrum is being used, who owns spectrum licenses around the country, and what spectrum is available in your county. I like the fact there are APIs available for accessing different data.

I think this is a good idea but only a start. From what I gather this appears to be part of a whole initiative by the FCC around data and data gathering in general.

I am reminded of Hans Rosling’s interest in statistics. Rosling co-founded the Gapminder Foundation. Gapminder developed software that converts international statistics into moving, interactive graphics. The interactive animations are freely available from the Foundation’s website. They are great and definitely allow you to see things that you might otherwise miss. Gapminder relies on the kinds of statistics they are interested in, being freely available. They really shows the benefits that are to be had from this approach.

I recently became aware of the Culture Hack movement – a group of people also in search of data!  From what I understand Culture Hacking is about appropriating Cultural Datasets – among other things – to create new things. In the UK a Cultural Hack Day took place in January of this year. According to their webiste, the aim of Culture Hack Day is to bring cultural organisations and developers  together to create exciting new things. They go on to say that lots of developers came along and loads of cultural organisations shared data, including The GuardianWelsh National OperaMuteDCMSNational Maritime MuseumWatershedGlobal Data PointCrafts CouncilCulture GridEdinburgh Festivals Innovation LabBBC ArchiveProboscisUK Film Council and the Royal Opera House. And that they made lots of things. You can go to their website to get updated.

So what is my point – my point is that maybe we will see different things if we thing of the data around spectrum to be data that should be available to a much wider world, if we play with it in different ways, if we think beyond the confines of our world. Perhaps?

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From → DySPAN 2011

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