This week learn about how data analytics can increase the effectiveness of philanthropy, big and open data business models, a combined big data definition and what open data users can learn from content "pirates".
In this post David Meggins on discusses the implications of the temporary shutdown of data.gov in the US. He says that like the internet open data can route around problems such a shutdown could create. According to him, data should be copied and lessons can be learnt from content “pirates” even while support comes from government, international organisations and foundations. He says that signing digital content and standardizing how open-data sites notify other systems about new or updated datasets can also be examined.
In this post Chris Taggart founder of OpenCorporates explains how since launching two years ago and with little funding, OpenCorporates has become the largest openly licensed database of companies in the world. It is now used by journalists and anti-corruption investigators and banks. It is also creating a global dataset of corporate hierarchies through pulling data from disparate sources.
Given the myriad of definitions proposed for Big Data, Jonathan Stuart Ward and Adam Barker at the University of St Andrews in Scotland surveyed the various definitions of big data by some of the biggest and most influential high-tech organisations to reach a common definition. They found that formal definitions are hard to come by and anecdotal examples are usually used. In addition, the notion of “big” is difficult to define.
This article discusses the work of the Climate Corporation, which was formed in 2006 and has used free data published by the National Weather Service on heat and precipitation patterns in the US to sell insurance to weather oriented businesses. Now they use open data to help judge how different crops will react to certain soils, water and heat. They are expanding this business to farming and exploring offering the service in Canada, Brazil and other places where long-term data is available. The company was recently bought in a $930 million cash deal by the agricultural company Monsanto.
Kuity, an advanced analytics company that provides operational intelligence solutions, and the California Endowment, a private, California-focused health foundation have released a white paper, which explains how data analytics will allow foundations to expand their philanthropic prospects and have greater social impact. Use and benefits of data analytics covered include: Knowing more about current grant-making activity; Rationalizing grant portfolios, and Learning what is working and why.