Tad Slawecki, Senior Engineer at Limnotech, provided a very interesting and entertaining ‘lightning talk’ at the Open Water Data Initiative session of the AWRA 2014 conference. Against a backdrop of increasing momentum toward ‘big data,’ which is often conceived as primarily ‘virtual’ data derived from distributed models, Tad argues that we need to restore our faith in ‘virtuous’ data.
vir·tu·ous /ˈvərCHo͞oəs/. Having or showing high moral standards.
mor·al /ˈmôrəl/. Concerned with the principles of right and wrong behavior and the goodness or badness of human character.
So what are the principles of right and wrong that make data virtuous?
Well it turns out, following Tad’s logic, that data that are managed to optimize potential value are virtuous. In a previous post ‘Shared Data…‘ I presented the argument that potential value is a function of data, its quality and the extent to which the data are managed for data sharing. We have the means to manage data virtuously. The question is do we have the will?