Thursday, October 27, 2011

Survey of Sweden Official Statistics: "The accessibility of official statistics must be improved"

Translation by Google Translate:

Fi 2011:05 Statistics Survey

Committee ChairBengt Westerberg
Secretary: Sofia Tollgerdttel +468-405 90 24
Secretary: Svante Erikssontel +468-405 14 28
E-mail: firstname.lastname @

Directive 2011:32 (link to Ministry of Finance, Swedish page)
The study estimated finish its work on 10 December 2012.

Extract from the Directive (not perfect translation but understandable):

The accessibility of official statistics must be improved
To improve the accessibility of official statistics is a
challenge for all authorities responsible for and produce
official statistics.
The statistics can be considered available if it can find and
access to statistics, within a reasonable time, without charge or at
affordable, easy to interpret statistical data and use it
for their processing and analysis. Improved accessibility
the statistics was one of the cornerstones of statistical reform.
Accessibility has improved significantly since the reform of
several areas. Among other things, is Sweden's Statistical Databases
now available free of charge through the SCB website.
Accessibility must be improved further.
Improved accessibility should lead to increased
opportunities to meet the statistical needs of users
monitoring in different policy areas. It should for example
analyzed the extent to which it is possible to meet new needs
of current and more detailed statistics in welfare policy
and environmental policy. Improved accessibility also means that
you should try to facilitate the research need to be able
carry out register-based research in a more efficient manner than in
Strategically important areas for improved accessibility is
documentation, pricing and statistical confidentiality. Other
areas are safe technique and good presentation.
In conclusion, examine proposals for improved
availability of official statistics aim to make
it easy to search and access all official statistics, the
it easier for non-specialists to interpret and use
official statistics, to enable qualified
users, not least academic and
colleges, to use the official statistics data set on
own, to improve documentation, simplifying and
clarify the statistical secrecy (even in the case of other
statistics than the official statistics), not to restrict access
more than necessary to ensure statistical confidentiality and to provide
access to official statistics through basic services in
combined with the optional facilities. A system of supervision
of availability should be considered.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

IBM Offers Free Big Data Analysis Tool for iPads

This post is part of our ReadWriteCloud channel, which is dedicated to covering virtualization and cloud computing. The channel is sponsored by Intel and VMware . Read the case study about how Intel Xeon processors and VMware deliver unprecedented reliability in the face of RAM errors.
cognos-ipad.pngA new IBM Cognos Mobile  free app from IBM's Cognos division makes it easy to explore any type of data on the go with location-aware analytics. Called Cognos on the iPad , the Cincinnati Zoo has used it to give management instant access, and a single view of visitor and business information to drive new revenue and improve member visits. As a result of this analysis, the zoo has increased visitor in-park spending by 25 percent this year.
Here is an example of the kinds of screens it can produce:
The app is part of a larger series of IBM big-data announcements this week , including new Hadoop-based analytics software in the cloud that can be up and running in less than 30 minutes. IT professionals and others looking to build Hadoop skills can take advantage of IBM's, a new website where users can learn the basics of Hadoop, open source software development, and database management techniques. More than 8,000 students have already taken at least one of the offerings at BDU. (I like the sound of that, can you get the logo sweatshirt yet?)

Friday, October 21, 2011

UK gov publishes IT action plan to back up previous IT plan

From: The Register

The Cabinet Office has published an action plan that details deadlines for when it hopes to implement the IT strategy it announced in March this year.
By the end of this month Francis Maude's department will release strategies for "End User Devices, Cloud, ICT Capability, and Greening Government ICT".

Read more....

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

UNDP Human Development Indicators published by Google Public Data Explorer

Google Public Data Home

Human Development Indicators
The human development data utilized in the preparation of the Human Development Index (HDI) and other composite indices featured in the Human Development Report are provided by a variety of public international sources and represent the best and most current statistics available for those indicators at the time of the preparation of this annual report. Calculations of HDI values and country rankings are the sole responsibility of the Human Development Report Office. The 2010 Human Development Report, an editorially independent publication commissioned by the United Nations Development Programme, was published in print and online on November 4 2010.
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Friday, October 14, 2011

New Tools for Today's Investigative Journalist


Published:  October 14, 2011
Publication Image
Novinky - The News by Jan Krömer.
While I am by no means a seasoned investigative journalist, I have the good fortune to work with some. Looking ten years back I couldn't imagine a media organization considering geek qualifications a core part of an investigative team. In 2011, turning a geek into an investigative journalist is a no-brainer.
The information landscape a journalist lives in today is very different than ten years ago. People share more information on the Internet about themselves than ever before. Journalists have access to large quantities of free information stored in social networks, government databases, and Freedom of Information requests. In response, the traditional journalist is evolving quickly. Today's journalist is not only sitting in the court room or town hall meeting with pen and paper but with a laptop sifting through relevant online information, filling FOIA requests, and chatting with their editors. With journalism, the market for tools and methods to collect, analyze, and present this information is growing fast.
The days of Excel spreadsheets and HTML tables are gone. Whether we're watching on TV, reading online, or in a newspaper we expect beautiful and easy to understand representations of important information, no matter how large the underlying data is. DocumentCloudInformation is BeautifulPiwikMining of Massive DatasetsPACERGoogle RefineGoogle Fusion Tables,Google Public Data ExplorerIBM's Many Eyes, and ScraperWiki are just some of the data driven journalism tools widely used by mainstream media today.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

U.S. and UK Urge OECD to Make Data Freely Available Online


FCO Press Release: Tuesday 11 October 2011

Hague and Clinton write to the OECD Secretary General on Open Data

On behalf of US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and UK Foreign Secretary William Hague, the heads of the two countries’ missions to the OECD delivered a letter on 4 October 2011 to the Organisation’s Secretary General, Angel Gurría. In it, Mrs Clinton and Mr Hague called on the OECD to commit to the principles of the Open Government Partnership, and make all of its core data freely available online.  

Both countries recognise the OECD as a uniquely valuable source of internationally comparable information. For over fifty years, its work has allowed governments to evaluate their own progress. Now, with citizens empowered by new technologies, they too will be able to use the OECD’s data to hold their governments to account. This is a golden opportunity for the Organisation to reinforce its position as the champion of better policies for better lives.

Notes to editors

1.    The UK was announced as the 2012 co-chair of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) at its inaugural meeting in New York on 20 September 2011. The Open Government Partnership is an innovative international initiative bringing developed and developing countries together to promote transparency and harness new technologies for open government to help fight corruption, engage citizens and save lives.

2.    In July 2011 the Prime Minister released a letter which detailed new commitments on data which represented the most ambitious open data agenda of any government in the world. The letter can be found at:

3.    The Cabinet Office is currently running an online consultation on open data. The open data consultation is available for comment

Kind regards, 
Press Office l Foreign and Commonwealth Office   

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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

An example of use of Google public data explorer


Monday, 03 October 2011

Google public data explorer

I just learned that Google provides a way to explore and visualilze lots of public data about the state
of the world. There's not much information about information security in the data that's available to 
look at, but there are some things that are closely related. In some cases you need to look carefully 
at what the data is really telling you.

Here's a graph that I made using this service that compares the number of Internet users in the US 
and China. Note that this particular graph doesn't tell you the units for the vertical axis. It turns out 
that that's the number of Internet users per 100 population, but I had to follow a few links to the 
original data set to find that.
Most of the data sets seemed to do a better job of displaying what the units of the data are. 
Here's an example that shows this. In this case it's clearer what the units on the data are.

There's lots of other data out there that could benefit from a similar web interface. There's lots
of data at the US government's web site, for example, but doesn't provide
an easy way to visualize the data that it provides.