Jon Udell writes about where the US gets its oil (the majority comes from Canada, not the middle east). He follows the data with the story of how he discovered the answer and presented the data using DabbleDB.

I agree with Jon when he says “we’re really close to the point where non-specialists will be able to find data online, ask questions of it, produce answers that bear on public policy issues, and share those answers online for review and discussion.” It’ll likely need another generation of tools before we work out the glitches and hiccups in the data flow and it’ll require the generation who grew up with the web to expect such tools at their fingertips and put them to use. I look forward to seeing what comes next.

One thought on “data mining for oil sources

  1. Hi Sarah!

    What comes next might be a phase of lots of experimentation made possible by open source unstructured databases like CouchDB.

    CouchDB is an up-and-coming schema-less document database that just ended its incubation status and reached top-level project status in the Apache organization. The API is HTTP-based, the default GUI is HTTP-based (though you can proxy it), and information is serialized in the JSON format. Because CouchDB applies higher order functions in the map-reduce pattern incrementally on the data, it has the potential to handle search and retrieval of large data sets at a logarithmic rate of performance.

    If the UI is just data stored with in the same way as the data manipulated by the UI, you might get a paradigmatic example like this:


What do you think?