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The Data Playground: A Few Good Examples

In our efforts to find the best way to connect you to interesting data in Milwaukee, we stumbled across a few organizations that we feel are doing this really well. By learning from their actions, we can make it “Milwaukee”. Note that most of these sites have a TON of data available, and while only some of it is related to Milwaukee, Wisconsin we can still learn or build something from regional, national or international data.

The Contenders

These three deliver data really well, either via an API (REST, JSON) or through some sort of download (CSV, XML).


This is their self-description on the web site:
Use and build applications which update and respond in real-time.

  • Send your data to Pachube in real-time
  • Leverage a powerful API
  • Get applications
  • Use and benefit from the community’s data

Make your data useful and be a part of the Internet of Things.

  • Get applications that work with your data
  • Make your ‘things’ work for you more efficiently
  • Collaborate and solve problems
  • Monitor and understand the world around you

People in over 100 countries push millions of data points every day.

  • Citizens concerned about radiation levels
  • Energy consumers controlling their costs
  • Farmers and gardeners optimizing their crops
  • Managers automating buildings


Quoted from their site: Factual was founded in 2007 by Gil Elbaz, co-founder of Applied Semantics (which launched ASI’s AdSense product). Applied Semantics was acquired by Google in 2003. Gil has had a lifelong passion for organizing and structuring information, and building smart tools which can make better sense of data. To that end, he set out to develop an open data platform and community in an effort to maximize data accuracy, transparency, and availability. Fellow data lovers — Tim Chklovski, chief scientist & founding engineer, Eva Ho, an ex-Googler, along with Bill Michels, former GM of Yahoo BOSS, have joined him in this ambitious project.

Google Code Playground

Not a data source per se, but it is a really cool way to test out how an API is used before you go ahead and implement the raw code.