Data Set Screenshot from Google's Spectrum Database

Published on November 20th, 2013 | by Travis Korte


Mapping “White Space” in the Wireless Spectrum

All sorts of wireless devices, from smart phones to weather sensors, transmit data using electromagnetic signals. In order for these devices not to interfere with one another, the frequencies on which different kinds of devices communicate are carefully delineated; in practice, there is only a finite range of frequencies (known as spectrum) available, so new application developers need to know what frequencies are still on offer in their areas.

The Google Spectrum Database, which opened freely to developers last week, helps solve this problem, mapping the empty spaces in the portion of the spectrum previously reserved for TV stations. This helps enable applications that would use this spectrum to serve Wi-Fi, ultimately helping provide wireless internet to rural and other underserved areas. The database offers an API, as well as raw data for download in the common CSV format.

Get the data.

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About the Author

Travis Korte is a research analyst at the Center for Data Innovation specializing in data science applications and open data. He has a background in journalism, computer science and statistics. Prior to joining the Center for Data Innovation, he launched the Science vertical of The Huffington Post and served as its Associate Editor, covering a wide range of science and technology topics. He has worked on data science projects with HuffPost and other organizations. Before this, he graduated with highest honors from the University of California, Berkeley, having studied critical theory and completed coursework in computer science and economics. His research interests are in computational social science and using data to engage with complex social systems. You can follow him on Twitter @traviskorte.

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