Data Fever

19:56 Mon 10 Mar 2008
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Since last Thursday I’ve essentially been in the the grip of a compulsion to enter data into Freebase.

Some good has come of this, as every BART station, every DART station, and almost every Dublin Suburban Rail station in Freebase now has geocoding information attached to it.

Despite this compulsion, I can’t help but ask what value that really is. Sure, in some cases I went out and found the location data on Google Maps, but in other cases it was out there somewhere (e.g. dartmaps.mackers.com) already. It seems worth it to me to have it on one location, connected to properly-typed information… but is that just because I like the idea of properly organized information per se, or because it’s of practical value?

I’m going to hope it’s the latter. Information like this tends to be useful a lot further down the line, when someone writes some application to make use of it. The whole point of Freebase is to collect the information and then make it available in a rational (and hopefully predictable) way.

I have abandoned my ideas for creating the schemas necessary for handling Magic: The Gathering, because minor investigation revealed that to be an absolutely huge task.

Instead, I’ve got my eye on entering more Irish political information. Wikipedia has a tremendous amount of information on Irish elections, e.g. election results from Dún Laoghaire, and it would be really fantastic to have all that info available in a structured and easily-queried way…

So, yeah, feverish.

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