A civic-minded citizen seeking the singularity

An entry

Screenshots of Data Portals

Date: 2015-09-21
Status: release
Tags: data-portal open-data

Chiming into a Twitter conversation today about the quality of open data portals, I wanted to explore further.

Mark replied that OpenDataPhilly was a strong example of what an effective data portal could look like.

So, I went looking for other data portals. How can I get a quick understanding of the current state of data portals? Googling yields CKAN, and a few commercial solutions.

The most canonical list of open data portals that I found was kindly provided as an open data-set by the Sunlight Foundation.

I wrote a small script to screenshot 162 open data portals and published the results on Flickr. Here's the code.

Open Data Portals

Quick, self-referential shot-out to auto_screenshot, which is a Ruby .gem I wrote and like to use to document web projects ; ) Check it out!

But thus far, we've just created a new, derivative data-set. A dataset of images based on the homepages of a given set of public data portals, at a given time.

What interests me in open data is the opportunities it creates to interact with and understand information in a new way. In this case, seeing many examples of data portals at a glance, helps me form an impression about a current state of affairs.

In some respects, data can enable a higher-resolution view of the world; or at least a tiny, temporary aspect of it.