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A new app gathers data you’re too polite to ask about.

At some point, you’ve probably wondered how much your neighbors bring in each month—but that’s not the kind of question you talk about in the elevator. A new app called WageSpot promises to satisfy your curiosity by mapping the salaries of everyone around you.

(WageSpot)

In WageSpot’s map view, you can zoom in and out of your city to find nearby salaries and filter the results by job, age, gender, salary, and industry—a powerful tool for comparing your compensation to your peers’. Click a dot to view more detailed salary information about an individual employee, including the person’s name and years of experience (if he or she has submitted it). The color of the dot indicates the user’s reported job satisfaction—green for good, yellow for average, and red for poor.

The data comes directly from WageSpot users. If you’re squeamish about sharing your personal data, you can still view the map without logging in. But the app is most useful when users are willing to pony up the details—the more intimate, the better.

WageSpot launched yesterday on iOS and Android, so user-submitted data is still trickling in. (It’s free to download, but the company has launched a Kickstarter campaign to cover the cost of licensing the Google Maps API.) San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York are currently the most comprehensive, but for now most cities’ maps are overwhelmingly populated with publicly available data on pro athletes, executives, and the like. The most common figure in Washington, D.C., for instance, is $174,000—the salary for U.S. senators. Expect this to change as the app picks up speed—and collects more and more data.

You can already compare salaries on sites like PayScale and Glassdoor, but compared to WageSpot’s sleek, location-based design, their interfaces are relatively clunky and require a significant amount of data entry for best results.

And, career experts say, this kind of knowledge is power. Whether you’re negotiating salary at a new job or asking for a raise at your current gig, you need to walk in with a number that makes sense for your skill set and experience in the industry. Most employers are willing to negotiate—and you’ll get to show off your confidence and qualifications for the job. It pays to do your research.

[H/T: Engadget]

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