Monday, November 23, 2009

Iconography Service

A Web Service that returns a MILSTD 2525C icon in PNG format given echelon (size) and proponent type (unit):

For example:

Infantry Brigade

This could easily be extended to include other iconography standards.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


Update: 12.03.09 - It seems is already providing most of what I'd like to see from a service: anyone can add (don't even have to auth), domain attributes, links to references, direct URL to entry: There are some obvious difference in approach. I want to go further with URLs. I'd like to be able to point to a unique defintion via a path, ex., /wiktionary/FOO/1. I also want to do lookups in other dimensions, ex., return all terms from domain:X.

The government is awash with acronyms. New acronyms are created daily. Acronyms create a barrier to understanding if they cannot be easily resolved, where easy = universal and universal = URL. There are many online dictionaries with entries that are found in Web searches. However, these return results only in highly formatted, not-well-formed HTML that is not always accessible through simple URLs. Furthermore, these dictionaries provide no way for the community to create and share new entries as they are needed. A simple solution to this is:
  1. Use the cloud to store terms and definitions
  2. Use Web services to return definitions through URLs as XML, JSON, and XHTML
  3. Provide a simple form that lets registered users add and edit terms
We have created a proof of concept here using XAMPP and AWS:

It's not perfect or even complete. For example, the XHTML returns errors from the W3C validator. But I think this is a solid start and I'd like to open it up and see it go further. To that end, I submitted it as an idea for Sunlight Labs. We'll see if it garners any votes of interest...

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Bad Practices of Linked Data

Urban EcoMap San Francisco is a great site that lets you explore emissions by zip code on a color-coded map:

Smartly, they also provide a "link" to download the data as comma-separated values.

Sadly, however, the link it not accessible!

Where is the URL for this data? It's hidden behind a Flash control.