TED2010

Tim Berners-Lee: The year open data went worldwide

Filmed:

At TED2009, Tim Berners-Lee called for "raw data now" -- for governments, scientists and institutions to make their data openly available on the web. At TED University in 2010, he shows a few of the interesting results when the data gets linked up.

- Inventor
Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web. He leads the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), overseeing the Web's standards and development. Full bio

Last year here at TED
00:15
I asked you to give me your data,
00:17
to put your data on the web, on the basis
00:19
that if people put data onto the web --
00:21
government data, scientific data, community data,
00:24
whatever it is -- it will be used by other people
00:27
to do wonderful things, in ways
00:29
that they never could have imagined.
00:31
So, today I'm back just to show you a few things,
00:33
to show you, in fact, there is
00:36
an open data movement afoot,
00:38
now, around the world.
00:43
The cry of "Raw data now!"
00:45
which I made people make in the auditorium,
00:47
was heard around the world.
00:49
So, let's roll the video.
00:51
A classic story, the first one which lots of people picked up,
00:54
was when in March -- on March 10th in fact, soon after TED --
00:57
Paul Clarke, in the U.K. government,
01:00
blogged, "Oh, I've just got some raw data. Here it is,
01:03
it's about bicycle accidents."
01:05
Two days it took the Times Online
01:08
to make a map, a mashable map --
01:11
we call these things mash-ups --
01:13
a mashed-up user interface that allows you to go in there
01:15
and have a look and find out whether your bicycle
01:17
route to work was affected.
01:19
Here's more data, traffic survey data,
01:21
again, put out by the U.K. government,
01:23
and because they put it up using the Linked Data standards,
01:25
then a user could just make a map,
01:28
just by clicking.
01:30
Does this data affect things? Well, let's get back to 2008.
01:32
Look at Zanesville, Ohio.
01:34
Here's a map a lawyer made. He put on it the water plant,
01:37
and which houses are there,
01:40
which houses have been connected to the water.
01:42
And he got, from other data sources,
01:44
information to show
01:46
which houses are occupied by white people.
01:49
Well, there was too much of a correlation, he felt,
01:51
between which houses were occupied by white people
01:54
and which houses had water, and the judge was not impressed either.
01:57
The judge was not impressed to the tune of 10.9 million dollars.
02:00
That's the power of taking one piece of data,
02:03
another piece of data, putting it together,
02:05
and showing the result.
02:08
Let's look at some data from the U.K. now.
02:10
This is U.K. government data, a completely independent site,
02:12
Where Does My Money Go.
02:14
It allows anybody to go there and burrow down.
02:16
You can burrow down by a particular type of spending,
02:18
or you can go through all the different regions and compare them.
02:20
So, that's happening in the U.K. with U.K. government data.
02:24
Yes, certainly you can do it over here.
02:27
Here's a site which allows you to look at recovery spending
02:29
in California.
02:32
Take an arbitrary example, Long Beach, California,
02:34
you can go and have a look at what recovery money they've been spending
02:36
on different things such as energy.
02:39
In fact, this is the graph of the number of data sets
02:42
in the repositories of data.gov,
02:45
and data.gov.uk.
02:47
And I'm delighted to see a great competition
02:49
between the U.K. in blue, and the U.S. in red.
02:51
How can you use this stuff?
02:53
Well, for example, if you have lots of data about places
02:55
you can take, from a postcode --
02:58
which is like a zip plus four --
03:00
for a specific group of houses, you can make paper,
03:02
print off a paper which has got very, very
03:05
specific things about the bus stops,
03:07
the things specifically near you.
03:09
On a larger scale, this is a mash-up
03:11
of the data which was released about the Afghan elections.
03:14
It allows you to set your own criteria
03:17
for what sort of things you want to look at.
03:19
The red circles are polling stations,
03:21
selected by your criteria.
03:23
And then you can select also other things on the map
03:25
to see what other factors, like the threat level.
03:27
So, that was government data.
03:29
I also talked about community-generated data -- in fact I edited some.
03:32
This is the wiki map, this is the Open Street Map.
03:34
"Terrace Theater" I actually put
03:36
on the map because it wasn't on the map before TED last year.
03:38
I was not the only person editing the open street map.
03:41
Each flash on this visualization --
03:44
put together by ITO World --
03:46
shows an edit in 2009
03:48
made to the Open Street Map.
03:50
Let's now spin the world during the same year.
03:52
Every flash is an edit. Somebody somewhere
03:55
looking at the Open Street Map, and realizing it could be better.
03:57
You can see Europe is ablaze with updates.
04:00
Some places, perhaps not as much as they should be.
04:03
Here focusing in on Haiti.
04:06
The map of Port au-Prince at the end
04:08
of 2009 was not all it could be,
04:10
not as good as the map of California.
04:12
Fortunately, just after the earthquake,
04:14
GeoEye, a commercial company,
04:17
released satellite imagery
04:19
with a license, which allowed
04:21
the open-source community to use it.
04:23
This is January, in time lapse,
04:25
of people editing ... that's the earthquake.
04:27
After the earthquake, immediately,
04:29
people all over the world, mappers
04:31
who wanted to help, and could,
04:33
looked at that imagery, built the map, quickly building it up.
04:35
We're focusing now on Port-au-Prince.
04:38
The light blue is refugee camps these volunteers had spotted from the [satellite images].
04:39
So, now we have, immediately, a real-time map
04:43
showing where there are refugee camps --
04:45
rapidly became the best map
04:47
to use if you're doing relief work in Port-au-Prince.
04:49
Witness the fact that it's here on this Garmin device
04:52
being used by rescue team in Haiti.
04:54
There's the map showing,
04:56
on the left-hand side,
04:59
that hospital -- actually that's a hospital ship.
05:01
This is a real-time map that shows blocked roads,
05:03
damaged buildings, refugee camps --
05:06
it shows things that are needed [for rescue and relief work].
05:08
So, if you've been involved in that at all,
05:10
I just wanted to say: Whatever you've been doing,
05:12
whether you've just been chanting, "Raw data now!"
05:14
or you've been putting government or scientific data online,
05:16
I just wanted to take this opportunity to say: Thank you very much,
05:19
and we have only just started!
05:21
(Applause)
05:24

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About the Speaker:

Tim Berners-Lee - Inventor
Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web. He leads the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), overseeing the Web's standards and development.

Why you should listen

In the 1980s, scientists at CERN were asking themselves how massive, complex, collaborative projects -- like the fledgling LHC -- could be orchestrated and tracked. Tim Berners-Lee, then a contractor, answered by inventing the World Wide Web. This global system of hypertext documents, linked through the Internet, brought about a massive cultural shift ushered in by the new tech and content it made possible: AOL, eBay, Wikipedia, TED.com...

Berners-Lee is now director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which maintains standards for the Web and continues to refine its design. Recently he has envisioned a "Semantic Web" -- an evolved version of the same system that recognizes the meaning of the information it carries. He's the 3Com Founders Professor of Engineering in the School of Engineering with a joint appointment in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Laboratory for Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence (CSAIL) at the MIT, where he also heads the Decentralized Information Group (DIG). He is also a Professor in the Electronics and Computer Science Department at the University of Southampton, UK.

More profile about the speaker
Tim Berners-Lee | Speaker | TED.com