In today's digital edition of the Chicago Tribune I read a story about a geologist who is using satellite data and GIS mapping to "challenge oil, gas, mining and fishing organizations over how they are changing the earth. The organization is called SkyTruth. Visit the web site. Read their blog.
SkyTruth uses data to inform the public in many of the same ways as I've sought to use data and mapping to support the growth of volunteer-based tutoring/mentoring programs in Chicago. SkyTruth fought a long battle for attention and funding and still is not a "wealthy" organization. I continue to fight to find talent, dollars and partners to support my own efforts.
Another innovator who uses data to support changes in public policy is Tom Wong, an assistant professor at UC San Diego, who uses data to support changes in immigration legislation. This article in the LA Times describes the work Wong is doing. This is his blog.