There’s a lot of heat on MP’s expenses so if you want to quickly see how your local MP compares then have a look at them on Virtual Earth here..

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What I like about this is that it shows the spikes, so in my neck of the woods this MP is in red because he’s claiming a lot.  But what’s interesting is that by and large other MP’s living in the same area are generally claiming less.  I am not suggesting this is wrong but it does bear closer examination.

Another good example of visualising this sort of data was in HM Customs (way before HMRC). A team could get sales data for beer from the breweries for 2 different months and then plot the biggest drop in sales on a map. Why? Well people don’t suddenly stop drinking so what it showed is where potential bootlegging was going on i.e. the trade had simply moved to car boot sales and the like.

The clever bit about this is that while you can use Virtual earth via it’s SDK to plot this data, the data itself doesn’t need to leave your organisation i.e. you use your software (in this case a SQL Server database) plus the (virtual earth) service to do this. This is what software plus services is all about. Here Virtual Earth experts Shoothill have the expenses data in SQL Server and have plotted in onto Virtual Earth as an example of what can be done.

OK I’d better fill in my expenses before Eileen shouts at me.