With backing from the Sunlight Founation, non-profit CorpWatch launched CrocTail yesterday, an application to provide easy access to data from several hundred thousand publicly traded companies. We heard about it via Dion Hinchcliffe, a respected enterprise 2.0 consultant and blogger for ZDNet.

CorpWatch has also released the API they used to create CrocTail, one of only two to build structure around the filings data from the SEC’s own EDGAR (Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval) search system. The other, SEC Watch, was released in early March.

CrocTail is an easy to navigate and well-formed usage of the data from this API. It has a complete company profile, a map of all subsidiaries, and a tree of the complete corporate structure.

In its mission to watchdog corporations, CorpWatch also has implemented a wiki previously, but CrocTail takes a different approach by automating the creation and visualization of information on companies. With the dual release of CrocTail and the API used to build it, a powerful new resource for both the public good and business intelligence has been created.