Never Miss a Beat: Get a snapshot of the issues affecting the IT industry straight to your inbox.
Mapping the Future of Open Source Data
FortiusOne plans to open a public data repository and social network for data sharing to encourage the creation of dynamic online map mashups that combine multiple data sets.
November 22, 2006
2 Min Read
In 2003, Sean Gorman, a George Mason University graduate student, used public data to create a map of the U.S. fiber optic network and the businesses it connected as part of his Ph.D. dissertation. Impressive--except to those like former White House counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke, who told The Washington Post the dissertation should be burned to keep it from terrorists.
Gorman's still trying to set public data free, but his latest effort has a profit motive--and is a bit less incendiary. By year's end, Gorman's startup company, FortiusOne, plans to open a public data repository and social network for data sharing to encourage online map mashups that combine multiple data sets.
FortiusOne recently released an online tool called GeoIQ that allows geographic data visualization in online mapping applications such as Google Maps and Microsoft Virtual Earth. Using the company's open API, Web-based mapmakers can combine multiple data sets and represent data concentrations like a heat map, instead of pushpin-type data point clusters.
But Gorman wants people to have more data to work with. "The thing that always frustrated me was the ability to look at only one data set at a time," he says.
Data sharing may be the next logical step in the movement toward open systems. But security concerns over what gets posted will continue. Gorman says FortiusOne won't post data the government considers sensitive.
The FortiusOne data repository could be an odd hodgepodge to start: U.S. census data and earthquake, landslide, and volcanic activity records, alongside the locations of bars and the addresses of spammers (based on work Gorman did for Spamhaus.org). Most of the data is available elsewhere, but having it aggregated and supported by a social network of data-sharing aficionados should make it much more useful, valuable, and perhaps controversial. Gorman says his company is cleaning up the data sets and annotating them in a community wiki.
As for Gorman's dissertation, it survived the flames. It resides safely in the university library.
About the Author(s)
Editor at Large, Enterprise Mobility
Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful master's degree in film production. He wrote the original treatment for 3DO's Killing Time, a short story that appeared in On Spec, and the screenplay for an independent film called The Hanged Man, which he would later direct. He's the author of a science fiction novel, Reflecting Fires, and a sadly neglected blog, Lot 49. His iPhone game, Blocfall, is available through the iTunes App Store. His wife is a talented jazz singer; he does not sing, which is for the best.
You May Also Like
The Total Economic Impact™ Of Fortinet NGFW For Data Center And AI-Powered FortiGuard Security Services Solution Study
Edge Computing Bridges IT and OT People, Process, and Technology
*State of ITSM in Retail
Solution Brief: Fortinet FortiFlex Delivers Usage-Based Security Licensing That Moves at the Speed of Digital Accelerationâ€‹
Checklist: Top 6 Considerations to Optimize Your Digital Acceleration Security Spend