It is definitely the geek in me, with a tad bit of history. When I started people.political a few years back (ok many years back) I cannot explain to you how frustrating it was to mash up postal codes, geolocations, congressional districts and walking lists for get out the vote efforts. Nothing to say about the difficulty of then patchworking together multiple county and city voter files to try to figure out anything useful for a political campaign to use.
The push to open data will make this a clickable enterprise (ok a few more steps than just a click). But as Simon shows at Puffbox the UK drive to Open Data is starting to show an effect. MaPitis an interesting experiment that would have made my world much easier way back then. Now folks can focus on some of the great value that can be added to this data. Instead of political consultants like me leveraging the data, citizens should be able to do it in incredible ways.
What if they match an MP’s district to cases of blood toxicity and map over that individual votes on environmental legislation? What if we can enable police districts to highlight nuisance calls in a particular area which almost always lead to increases in violent crime, so that they can deploy constables PRIOR to issues arising? What if we can show an larger than average rise in income in Congressional Districts that have a higher percentage of active voters (increasing participation across the globe)? What if we could correlate social computing technology use to successful policy outcomes (proving the power of netroots)?