Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Data as a business plan

Article on

"The data is the infrastructure," in the words of Sean Gorman, the CEO of FortiusOne, a company that builds layered maps around open-source geographic information. For every spreadsheet squirreled away on a federal agency server, there are entrepreneurs like Gorman ready to turn a profit by reorganizing, parsing, and displaying it.

Dozens of software and marketing firms, meanwhile, thrive entirely on slicing and interpreting U.S. Census data, released free in a format called Tiger. Google Earth and Microsoft Visual Earth both depend on government satellite data and private sources for their underlying maps, while real estate websites like Zillow and Trulia take advantage of housing and demographic feeds from state and local governments. More recently, Web 2.0 startups like CloudMade and Swivel have developed user-driven widgets to visualize and combine public data sets.

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