Since President’s Obama’s push for the website data.gov, an online repository for all important data, very little has been done with the access to the plethora of information. TED (Technology, entertainment, and design) conference founder Richard Saul Wurman, argues that the site is not reaching its full potential. ”[You] have to have [the information] in a form you can understand. They’re leaving that step out,” says Wurman. He has started a high-tech information-mapping a project with Joe Kamen, and Jack Dangermond called Urban Observatory. They hope to make the information more relevant. Wurman believes that the information means nothing unless it is given meaning with relevance. He proposes that the bulk of useless information be given meaning with creative diagramming and mapping and ways to compare the data.
The first exhibit featured an impressive 30-foot wide arc of LCD screens, and although it looked ambitious, was too much information to understand in one time. The display will debut at the Smithsonian on February 10th, 2015 and will feature 15-foot wide pods instead, each with its own interactive navigation display. Wurman compares the Observatory to a “new kind of museum,” and perhaps the observatory will serve the same function as a museum: giving new life to the data the way a museum gives new life to artifacts. And with the technological, informational age we are in, this data may be our strongest artifacts.