The Power of Open Data

Open data seems all well and good in theory, but it can be hard to envision practical applications. Essentially, this is making large sets of data open to the public.  One New York statistician, Ben Wellington, is making a name for himself by asking questions and finding answers through open data resources. The results are fascinating—and have had a big impact (and he wasn’t even trying).

Wellington is extremely skilled at not only crunching numbers, but also using numbers to tell stories and then using the combination of numbers and stories to affect change. In the article A Data Analyst’s Blog Is Transforming How New Yorkers See Their City, NPR gives one example of what happened when he looked at parking ticket data. Read Wellington’s account in his blog post Success: How NYC Open Data and Reddit Saved New Yorkers Over $55,000 a Year. Other popular posts from his blog I Quant NY include a look at the cleanliness at the city’s fast food restaurants and the prevalence of Starbuck’s in Manhattan. Great stuff for inquisitive minds.

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