We’re living in an age of open data. Every day, new swaths of information are made available to us in any number of ways from crime statistics to marriage rates. And while it’s important that this information is available, what does it really mean for the public? If the available data then requires a trained eye to decipher and then tell the stories behind the numbers, is that data really public? It’s available, yes, but available and accessible are wildly different things.
DataUSA, a project housed at the M.I.T. Media Lab, is providing the public with comprehensive state data and accompanying visualizations on an open-source platform:
Cesar A. Hidalgo, an assistant professor of media arts and sciences at the M.I.T. Media Lab who led the development of Data USA, said the website was devised to “transform data into stories.”