Google Dataset Search moves out of beta

Over a year ago, Google released Dataset Search in public beta. The goal was to index datasets across the internets to make them easier to find. It came out of beta:

Based on what we’ve learned from the early adopters of Dataset Search, we’ve added new features. You can now filter the results based on the types of dataset that you want (e.g., tables, images, text), or whether the dataset is available for free from the provider. If a dataset is about a geographic area, you can see the map. Plus, the product is now available on mobile and we’ve significantly improved the quality of dataset descriptions. One thing hasn’t changed however: anybody who publishes data can make their datasets discoverable in Dataset Search by using an open standard (schema.org) to describe the properties of their dataset on their own web page.

I haven’t tried it in a while, but the last time I did, there weren’t that many sources yet, because the indexing partially relies on others to use a standard to provide metadata. Kicking the tires on it now, it still kind of feels like an index of other dataset aggregators, but I’m interested.

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Google Dataset Search moves out of beta

Over a year ago, Google released Dataset Search in public beta. The goal was to index datasets across the internets to make them easier to find. It came out of beta:

Based on what we’ve learned from the early adopters of Dataset Search, we’ve added new features. You can now filter the results based on the types of dataset that you want (e.g., tables, images, text), or whether the dataset is available for free from the provider. If a dataset is about a geographic area, you can see the map. Plus, the product is now available on mobile and we’ve significantly improved the quality of dataset descriptions. One thing hasn’t changed however: anybody who publishes data can make their datasets discoverable in Dataset Search by using an open standard (schema.org) to describe the properties of their dataset on their own web page.

I haven’t tried it in a while, but the last time I did, there weren’t that many sources yet, because the indexing partially relies on others to use a standard to provide metadata. Kicking the tires on it now, it still kind of feels like an index of other dataset aggregators, but I’m interested.

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✚ Making the Name Guesser (The Process #73)

Using one of my recent projects as an example, I describe my non-elegant process of making a quick chart. Read More

Geography of FM radio

So get this. There are these things called radio stations that broadcast music using frequency modulation. They call it “FM radio.” You don’t download or stream the music, and you don’t get to choose what songs you want to hear right away, but sometimes you can call locally and request a song you like. It’s also free to listen to if you have this thing called a “radio.” In exchange, you have to listen to “commercials” sometimes where someone tries to sell you stuff. Seems like a fair exchange.

Anyways, Erin Davis mapped these radio stations and their coverage, based on FCC data. She joined the data with radio-locator.com data, which provides music genre. This allowed for the splits above.

Technology is amazing.

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Posted by in maps, Music, radio

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To get your personal data, provide more personal data

File another one under the sounds-good-on-paper-but-really-challenging-in-practice. Kashmir Hill, for The New York Times, describes the challenges of new laws that allow users to request the data that companies collect on them:

Since then, two groups of researchers have demonstrated that it’s possible to fool the systems created to comply with G.D.P.R. to get someone else’s personal information.

One of the researchers, James Pavur, 24, a doctoral student at Oxford University, filed data requests on behalf of his research partner and wife, Casey Knerr, at 150 companies using information that was easily found for her online, such as her mailing address, email address and phone number. To make the requests, he created an email address that was a variation on Ms. Knerr’s name. A quarter of the companies sent him her file.

“I got her Social Security number, high school grades, a good chunk of information about her credit card,” Mr. Pavur said. “A threat intelligence company sent me all her user names and passwords that had been leaked.”

Yay.

I’m not saying these new laws are bad, but maybe get yourself a good password manager and change all those duplicate passwords.

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How police use facial recogntion

For The New York Times, Jennifer Valentino-DeVries looked at the current state of facial recognition in law enforcement:

Officials in Florida say that they query the system 4,600 times a month. But the technology is no magic bullet: Only a small percentage of the queries break open investigations of unknown suspects, the documents indicate. The tool has been effective with clear images — identifying recalcitrant detainees, people using fake IDs and photos from anonymous social media accounts — but when investigators have tried to put a name to a suspect glimpsed in grainy surveillance footage, it has produced significantly fewer results.

Not quite CSI levels yet, huh.

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Guessing Names Based on What They Start With

I'm terrible at names, but maybe data can help. Put in your sex, the decade when you were born, and start putting in your name. I'll try to guess before you're done. Read More

Make a streets map of anywhere in the world

Following up on his mini-app to draw ridgeline maps for elevation, Andrei Kashcha made a tool to draw a streets map of anywhere in the world.

Enter a city, and using data from OpenStreetMap, you’ve got yourself a map for export. You can also easily change the color scheme to your liking, which is fun to play with as you scroll back and forth.

Finally, Kashcha also put the code up on GitHub.

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Cow representation in the Senate

For the Absurd America section of The Washington Post, Sergio Peçanha asks the question that’s on everyone’s mind: Are cows better represented in the Senate than people?

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✚ Misleading Map, or Misinterpreted? (The Process #72)

A 3-D rendered map of Australia depicting a month of bushfires grew popular last week. Some thought it misleading. Others thought it was okay. It's probably somewhere in the middle of that. Read More