While at Newspeak House in 2020 I found myself wanting to change how the screens dotted around the place worked. A little bit of context is needed here. These screens were dotted around the communal areas, each attached to as raspberry pi, and each running a kiosk script to load a browser and website when they first boot up. The code for the screens is on Github, and the pis do not have SSH enabled…
I wanted to change the website that they pointed to. In essence this mean going around and modifying the kiosk script on 6 or so pis using a small bluetooth keyboard and mouse. While doing that, to avoid anyone needing to do it again in the future, I modified the kiosk script to automatically reload itself from Github.
During my first week at Newspeak house while explaining Wikidata and Wikibase to some folks on the terrace the topic of Dams came up while discussing an old project that someone had worked on. Back in the day collecting information about Dams would have been quite an effort, compiling a bunch of different data from different sources to try to get a complete worldwide view on the topic. Perhaps it is easier with Wikidata now?
Below is a very brief walkthrough of topic discovery and exploration using various Wikidata features and the SPARQL query service.
A typical known Dam
In order to get an idea of the data space for the topic within Wikidata I start with a Dam that I know about already, the Three Gorges Dam (Q12514). Using this example I can see how Dams are typically described.