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Business - Written by on Sunday, August 3, 2008 14:57 - 4 Comments

Jeff DeChambeau
Britain From Above

The BBC has announced an upcoming tv special: Britain From Above. The special makes use of aerial photography and computer visualization to show the flow of traffic, the use of telephone networks and even the flight-plans of planes in British airspace. It’s very cool and somewhat frightening, that’s a lot of public data, I’d like to see where it’s all from, and to see if spill over into the public domain. Data enthusiasts might not have the resources and horsepower of the BBC, but I’m sure that some pretty cool mashups could be done with other data sets. For instance, how much is travel/cab usage different on days with bad weather? What percentage of British drivers speed? And just how many people really do phone their parents after an episode of Dr. Who?

Look for the special on bittorrent trackers sometime after August 10th.



4 Comments

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W. David Stephenson
Aug 3, 2008 20:16

Jeff: data enthusiasts in the UK will soon have a LOT of data. In the two months since I co-authored the white paper for nGenera on data feeds and data visualization tools http://tinyurl.com/6e7gkl , the UK has vaulted into the world lead in providing a wide range of data feeds (http://tinyurl.com/5j7j2e) and an incredibly creative competition (“Show Us a Better Way — BTW, a refreshingly humble title, don’t you think? — http://tinyurl.com/6no48y) that is soliciting ideas from the public on better ways that government can use data to serve the public interest. Even better, they’ve created a £40,000 prize pool to further develop the best ideas (and, in a great Web 2.0 departure from normal procedure, all of the entries are publicly posted, which I suspect will result in “wisdom of crowds” ideas based on these ideas!

Brennan
Aug 11, 2008 22:21

What David is saying is pretty solid.

I think he’s tap dancing around a more important issue though. Since we have all this information available we should be able to manipulate it and display it in a way that we find meaningful. This way people can search the internet for solutions instead of keywords.

For instance, if I want to find a trip/hotel/activities in Florida I should be able to access every online flight and hotel website’s database, sort my queries by whatever criteria I want and choose whatever output I find useful.

You can even do this right now with Yahoo Pipes and Microsoft’s popfly. I do it to aggregate my RSS feeds. I also use it to mash up google maps with news websites. The problem is that figuring out how to use these online programs is difficult if you’re not a program, which I’m not.

It’s cool stuff to mess around with anyways.

This google maps mashup website is pretty cool too http://googlemapsmania.blogspot.com/.

Brennan
Aug 11, 2008 22:23

here’s a torrent link to the first episode as well

http://thepiratebay.org/torrent/4339393/Britain_From_Above_Ep01_PDTV_DIVX

It does look sick.

Andy Davies-Coward
Aug 21, 2008 5:56

I’m the Creative Director of the company that interpreted the data and turned it into the animations that feature in the BBC Britain from Above programmes. We’re currently working to visualize data of the ocean floors for a big upcoming documentary. Our website is http://www.422south.com

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