In working with tenants to help their city attorney convict a group of slumlords, an economic justice organization collected public data on housing violations that were going unfixed. They tried standard mind mapping and organization software, but the relationships were too complex to unearth anything useful. So they eventually used social network analysis, revealing money exchanging hands in such a way that allowed owners to strip the value from buildings without actually fixing them.
The analysis results, combined with the city’s investigation, allowed key convictions and court-awarded finances for tenants to move elsewhere.
Sounds like a good reason for Data Without Borders.
[Valdis Krebs via kottke]
Also see our visualization of the mortgage mess — from Main Street to Wall Street.