So here’s a new thing. FindtheData.com is a new site dedicated to gathering data in such a way that allows side-by-side comparisons to be made. And there’s a lot of plant stuff here. Let’s have a look, shall we?
The Plants Database pulls data from USDA sources, but puts it in a format that makes it easier to search by particular characteristics or do side-by-side comparisons of plants. Searching for plants by various qualities yields some weird results–a search for fall-blooming annuals turned up only one plant, and it’s a plant that sounds like it comes right out of a Monty Python movie–Smallfoot Beggarticks.
Okay, moving on! You can also pull all kinds of data about botanical gardens–I did a search for botanical gardens that do ethnobotanical research and operate a tram, and got a list of four institutions (Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and Hawaii, in case you’re wondering.)
There’s also a list of farmers markets. I made a map of all the farmers markets within 20 miles of Iowa City:
I am perhaps most interested in the booze ratings, which pull scores and awards from several sources to give compiled data that can be put into side-by-side comparisons. For instance, here’s gin:
OK, enough about gin. What about the plants? Given the fact that this site is really only pulling data that’s already been compiled and putting it in a more user-friendly form–what would be most useful to you, plant-wise?
I know what I’d like to see: Seed and plant catalogs! Give me one place where I can search seed and plant listings, compare, and then order.
The data is not always perfect and up-to-date, by the way. I did a search for bookstores in Eureka, CA, and the bookstore I own wasn’t on the list–and we’ve owned it for almost five years, and we belong to bookstore organizations and are listed in the Yellow Pages. Oh well.
Amy Stewart on August 29, 2012 at 4:38 am, in the category CRRRITIC.