Visualizing Our Own Big Data

Big Data is pervading world, and yet the risk of data is that if access to data is unequal, then the data itself can increase inequality: from have's and have-not's to know and know-not's. I believe we need universal data fluency if we are to avoid this trap, and if we are to ensure that governments and corporations serve the true interests of the people.

One especially powerful Big Data set is LEHD: Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics from the U.S. Census Bureau. This is public data, owned by every one of us; and it empowers us all to see income inequality, gender inequity, career trends, income demographics and racial trends in across every block of the United States.

Today, we can all interactively explore LEHD using web-based viewers such as Explorable Visual Analytics. This is our right and our responsibility, if we are to keep our legislators honest about the trends that are shaping the world our children will inherit. So, surf the massive open data wave headed for our shores. We need the power of information in the hands of all, and on-line tools are making this feasible today.