Our SXSW 2011 Presentation on Visualizing Government Data is now online [Updated]

Our panel at SXSW 2011 was a great experience, thanks largely to an outpouring of engagement from government professionals and contractors. Our hashtag is still active on Twitter.

As promised, I’ll answer questions as they come in via the hashtag #visualgov. Or, just e-mail me if you’d like to discuss something in private.

Here’s the link to our slides.

Update: Audio of the talk is now available.

[podcast]http://michaelcastellon.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Why-Visualizing-Government-Data-Makes-Taxpayers-Happy.mp3[/podcast]

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My SXSW 2011 Panel: Visualizing Government Data for Public Trust

I’ll be on a panel next Saturday at SXSW 2011 titled Why Visualizing Government Data Makes Taxpayers Happy.

I’m really hoping to see a lot of people from local, state and federal government at SXSW this year. This is a great year for public sector employees attending the conference.

Here are a few of the things I’m going to discuss with my co-panelist and friend @jeremiahakin:

  • Why open data is important to government transparency and earning the public’s trust
  • How the federal government has served as a model
  • How agencies can distribute data visualization across teams, often to non-technical workers.
  • What tools agencies and other organizations can use to adopt similar strategies
  • The value and risks associated with various file formats, including Fusion Table and Google Earth.
  • Upcoming data visualization trends

My Schedule is a work in progress. Talk to me on Twitter if you’re attending SXSW 2011.

What Wikileaks really tells us about government and policy

If there was ever a question that information wants to be free, look no further than the Wikileaks story.

Governments — and especially those of us who work within them — haven’t fully identified the intersection of social connectivity and electronic data management.

The upper levels of government, foreign policy and national security keep secrets. By definition, that’s what many agencies do. As citizens, we must accept this fact. Secrets can keep peace. Secrets win wars. But secrets also can destroy trust, hide criminal acts, and threaten civil liberties.

The value of plain language in government communications

This is important. The Plain Language Action and Information Network (PLAIN) are federal employees working to integrate simpler language into otherwise complicated legislation and policy.Based on the premise that the best content is the clearest content, the group provides a lot of resources on the value of plain language communications.

Especially of interest are the Before and After documents.

I’m currently writing about the role of social media in tearing down the corporate firewall between products, markets and customers, and I think plain language is a major component of that movement, as well. I’ll post the story as it’s available in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, discover the value of plain language by reading Beth Mazur’s May 2000 article for Technical Communication, Revisiting Plain Language.