Shedding (tiny little bits of) light on ARRA

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For people concerned with the Recovery Act, the principal website, Recovery.gov is pretty much the world’s capital for information. With that in mind, we’re eagerly waiting to see whether Edward Tufte, a new member of the advisory panel for the Recovery, Accountability and Transparency Board, will guide the board toward exciting new ways of presenting information on the Recovery.gov website.  We’ve seen his work in the past, and – in our opinion – he’s a brilliant guy.

Last month, Tufte was on NPR’s  “On the Media” program, which described him as “the country’s foremost evangelist for the clean, clear and rich presentation of complex information.”

In this six-minute conversation with interviewer Bob Garfield, Tufte indicated that he’s already had some influence on the website.  “The first thing I said about a year ago when I met with them for the first time is that their model should be a first-rate news website,” he said. “Once we got the news metaphor and got the intense mapping, that’s halfway there.”

What’s next on Tufte’s agenda? “What I would most like to do is to make some additional things that are worthy of the zip code map and the data. One idea that I’ve been thinking of is called a flashlight map, and so you see a kind of dark blue United States with nothing on it, and then the dots, the little lights come on as each project started. That shows the spatial distribution, over time, of the stimulus projects.”

Sounds cool to us. We like sparkling little lights.

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