Data Miners - Netted
Article • April 27, 2010

Data Miners

Finally, A Site That Tells You Just How Toxic Your City Is

Whatever your feelings about government, one thing we can all agree on is that they have access to a whole lot of raw data.

Of course, that data only becomes useful when it’s put into a simplified, accessible and consistent interface, which is what a new site called This We Know accomplishes.

The site presents data about communities across the United States, pulled from a variety of sources that includes the Agency of Commerce, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Labor and, yes, the U.S. Census (so fill yours out).

Search for a city, town or zip code and you’ll get a list of “factoids” about that particular locale.

These include the total number of factories in the area, the demographic and employment breakdown of the local population and the number of bills introduced by local members of Congress.

Clicking on a factoid brings up tables of data, which in turn are linked to even more detailed information.

For example, we learned that 1,632,830 pounds of 35 different pollutants were released in Brooklyn.

When we clicked on “pollutants” we found the name of the facility that released it, what chemical it was, how much of it they released and what type of emission it gave off.

Information wants to be free, and this is one great way to use it.