The Interface Between the Worlds of Cloud Computing and the Semantic Web

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Data Market Chat: Chris Hathaway discusses AggData

Image representing AggData as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

Chris Hathaway sees basic location information scattered across the websites of hundreds — or thousands — of coffee shop chains, hotel groups, and fast food joints, but argues that it’s almost impossible to do anything more sophisticated with the data than find your closest Starbucks. His company, AggData, is attempting to fill what he sees as a gap in the market; scraping addresses and other facts off company websites to create simple files of store locations that can then be enriched with coordinate data and sold.

Customers for this data include competitors, market researchers, consultants, and even the companies themselves; as is so often the case, it can be easier to buy data on store locations from a third party than to find the authoritative sources within your own organisation. AggData is strongest in the US today, but also offers a growing body of data for other countries. Although the data files are structurally simple, Chris sees plenty of opportunity to continue collecting and selling data to a growing community of customers.

Unlike Factual, which was the focus of last week’s podcast, AggData is not currently interested in combining data from different sources. Customers download separate files on the locations of Starbucks, Peets and Tim Hortons, and not a single aggregated set of coffee shop locations. The AggData model is also predicated upon using their own scripts to extract data from third party sites; asked if he would accept a file of WalMart store locations supplied by WalMart, Hathaway explained why he would — and does — decline.

Have a listen to learn more about AggData, and to hear Chris’ perspectives on the potential role of semantic technologies in making his job easier. And check back on Thursday for the next podcast in the series; Hjálmar Gíslason of DataMarket.com.

Following up on a blog post that I wrote at the start of 2012, this is the second in a series of podcasts with key stakeholders in the emerging category of Data Markets. Other conversations, all of which will be published here, have been scheduled with BuzzData, DataMarket.com, Factual, Infochimps, Kasabi, and Microsoft. I am still adding conversations to the series, and intend to talk with more companies and with analysts and investors with insight to share. 

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Paul Miller works at the interface between the worlds of Cloud Computing and the Semantic Web, providing the insights that enable you to exploit the next wave as we approach the World Wide Database.

He blogs at www.cloudofdata.com.