OpenPaths: An examplar Vibrant Data app

Here's a good example of what we mean by "making data more vibrant and increasing its personal asset value". is a project of the research group at the New York Times, I learned about it watching a TEDx Vancouver talk by Jer Thorp (It's a fun talk. At 12:30 is the part about OpenPaths). The NYT broke the story about how much location data was stored in iPhone log files and created quite a storm. While concerned about the privacy issues, Jer, as a data junkie, was enamored with the possibilities of having so much location data to play with. To researchers this was gold.

OpenPaths lets people track their movements with iPhone and Android apps. The data are then available to research projects -- and you. If you participate, you can conveniently see your movements in fine detail and download your own data in the format of your choice. One use case might be for groups setting up car pools. Approved researchers see an aggregated, anonymized view. One research project is aimed at improving the tourist business in Spain. Another seeks to create a neighborhood map of New York by having residents bike or walk the perimeters of their various neighborhoods.

This application is a great example of what we are looking for in Vibrant Data PDX. It increases and makes available the value of  geolocation to the people who produce the data. It has a trusted, secure and private third party data banking function. And it creates new value to the community by making possible new insights in an inexpensive way.

1 comment:

  1. "It has a trusted, secure and private third party data banking function." Is this available to the hackers? If so, in what fashion?