Data, data, everywhere – government and museum hack competitions, get them while they are hot!

Friday, October 23rd, 2009 at 4:00 pm

Right now I am a very happy bunny:

CJ Happy Bunny by  TedsBlog.

The reason is that more and more great data sources and mashup competitions are cropping up in my surroundings right now. One of the things that got me most excited is that the UK government is opening its data and calls for a mashup competition. I’ve been at the Guardian last week before leaving for Vienna and Prague to look at the data sources and plans in place and there is a lot of cool data to play with. I found the data format of RDF and SPARQL a bit on the confusing side (yes, it is open, but why make it hard, SPARQL is not the most intuitive of languages) and it seems there will be easier ways to get to the data. If you are interested in the data and the competition, check out the Government open data google group.

Me pimping that on Twitter also brought the Australians out of the undergrowth pointing out the Australian government data competition. Sweet stuff, but zipped excel sheets are not really usable data sources. Maybe hosting them on Google Docs and writing a YQL table to point to them would be a more successful approach?

The next thing I got involved in is the Science Museum of London’s Cosmos and Culture mashup competition. There’s a blog post with more details and I’ve done an interview with Mia Ridge, Lead Developer at the Science Museum where she points out that there is a wiki to collaborate in teams to hack something for the competition. Mia also talked about a wiki of all kind of Museum APIs.

As mentioned before here and on the YDN blog, the National Maritime Museum in London still has a call for developers to astrotag photos and mashup that data. The driving force behind this is Jim O’Donnell who uses YQL extensively to make this data very easy to use.

It is on! Get your keyboards ready, give YQL some thought and let’s show the government and museums what stories geeks can find in data sets.

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