Currently browsing: Civic Tech

Plenar.io, the next stage in open data

Sep222014

A new open-source product called Plenar.io is doing some cool stuff with open data accessibility. The project is funded by the National Science Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation.

Plenario is designed to take us from “spreadsheets on the web”1 to truly smart open data. This rests on two fundamental breakthroughs:

1)  Allow users to assemble and download data from multiple, independent data sources, such as two different municipal data portals, or the federal government and a privately curated dataset.

2)  Unite all datasets along a single spatial and temporal index, making it possible to do complex aggregations with one query.

With these advances, Plenario allows users to study regions over specified time periods using all relevant data, regardless of original source, and represent the data as a single time series. By providing a single, centralized hub for open data, the Plenario platform enables urban scientists to ask the right questions with as few constraints as possible.

Read more: http://www.smartchicagocollaborative.org/plenar-io-the-next-phase-in-open-data/


The Weather Company and Emergency Alerts

Sep182014

Interesting piece from GovTech on The Weather Company and their new entry into the emergency alert business – allowing local emergency managers to utilize local, targeted information and publish that information quickly across multiple platforms.

The Weather Company, best known for The Weather Channel and weather.com, is getting into the emergency alert business — a natural fit given the company’s focus and market saturation.

Using its large-scale distribution and weather expertise, the company is, in partnership with local officials, building a localized alerting platform for state, local and private authorities to manage and distribute emergency alerts via The Weather Channel properties and existing local distribution points.

Read more: http://www.govtech.com/applications/Could-The-Weather-Company-Change-Emergency-Alerting.html


EveryBlock at the WordPress Meetup

Sep112014

A few members of the EveryBlock team presented our hyperlocal publishing platform last night at the September Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetup in New York City. Thanks to everyone who came out!

Wordpressmeetup


How can libraries build more knowledgeable communities?

Sep102014

The Knight Foundation has a new challenge for ideas answering the question: How might we leverage libraries as a platform to build more knowledgeable communities? The challenge runs through September 30th and is open to anyone.

As libraries nationwide redefine their role in the digital age, the need for ideas that build on their potential to spark innovation and spread information is urgent. To answer this call, the Knight News Challenge on Libraries opens for applications today. Winners will receive a share of $2.5 million.

Read more: http://www.knightfoundation.org/press-room/press-release/knight-news-challenge-libraries-offers-25-million-/


Atlanta’s Infrastructure Map

Sep092014

Code for America has a new article up on a map that allows Atlanta residents to see how money is being spent to help improve their communities. The map allows users to click on their location, see what improvements are being made, and discuss those improvements with others.

It’s one thing to know that your city is spending hundreds of millions of dollars improving infrastructure. It’s another to know that they’re finally going to fix your broken sidewalk.

We’re working to bridge this gap in Atlanta using a new website we call, simply, Infrastructure Map.

Read more: http://www.codeforamerica.org/blog/2014/09/09/mapping-infrastructure-atlanta/


How Digital Are States in 2014?

Sep082014

Interesting survey from GovTech on how digital each U.S. state is – including the rise in popularity of Open Data.

Over the last two years, states have made real progress when it comes to using technology.

In the Center for Digital Government’s biennial Digital States Survey, which evaluates state governments’ ability to improve internal processes and better serve citizens with technology, three states received straight A grades and five others earned an A-minus. Thirty states received grades in the B range — up from 22 in 2012 — and 12 states received grades in the C range.

Read More: http://www.govtech.com/state/State-of-the-Digital-States-2014-Survey-at-a-Glance.html


How civic hackers are helping local journalism

Sep052014

EveryBlock was featured in a Columbia Journalism Review article about Chicago’s civic hacking community. The piece described how EveryBlock was born from ChicagoCrime.org and became “the granddaddy of civic apps and a forerunner to a wave of hyperlocal sites…” It’s a good piece and shows how open data can impact communities.

http://www.cjr.org/united_states_project/chicago_civic_hackers.php


How the Sharing Economy is Strengthening Emergency Response and Recovery

Sep032014

Great post from GovTech on the potential for technology and the “sharing economy” to help communities respond to natural disasters.

The “sharing economy” — the term now commonly used to describe using technology and social media to promote the sharing and reusing of assets ­— has received a good deal of press over the last few years. From cooperatives that allow people to share cars, bikes and homes, to crowdfunding and crowdsourcing initiatives that allow large undertakings to be accomplished through the combined efforts of many, working together appears to be the latest progression in the social media evolution.

Read more: http://www.govtech.com/public-safety/How-the-Sharing-Economy-is-Strengthening-Emergency-Response-and-Recovery.html


Knight-Mozilla Fellows take on era of ‘no excuses,’ public data demands

Aug192014

Great article from the Knight Foundation on the work that Knight-Mozilla Fellows are doing on public data analysis – and making that data accessible and understandable for everyone.

In newsrooms around the globe, data experts are embracing daily challenges from their ever-demanding, increasingly info-savvy audience.

The third class of Knight-Mozilla OpenNews Fellows is developing solutions to these demands in seven newsrooms: Internews in Kenya, La Nacion, The New York Times,  ProPublica, The Texas Tribune and The Washington Post. Each fellow creates tools that empower journalists and citizens to access complicated relationships hidden in the untouched stacks of data and research. Mozilla initiated the program in 2010, and Knight Foundation has supported it since 2011.

Read more: http://www.knightfoundation.org/blogs/knightblog/2014/8/14/knight-mozilla-fellows-take-era-no-excuses-public-data-demands/


Urban Apps and Maps in Philadelphia

Aug062014

Nice to see the continued civic tech engagement in the city of brotherly love. From Philly.com:

PHILLY’S UNDER a new kind of neighborhood watch thanks to an app developed by high school students.

Eleven high school students in Temple University’s Urban Apps and Maps Studios’ Building Information Technology Skills summer program have developed a Web-based app called “Gotcha,” which allows the public to post crimes they’ve seen in the city.

Read More: http://articles.philly.com/2014-08-05/news/52476366_1_app-users-web-based-app-high-school-students


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