Currently browsing: Civic Tech

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


GovLoop: Lessons Learned to Create the Open GIS Platform

Aug052014

Great article from GovLoop on GIS data (used heavily for the location features on EveryBlock) and how city GIS departments have expertise beyond mapping: they’re usually pretty good at managing large data sets, too.

In our latest GovLoop guideOpen Data and GIS: Better Understanding Our World, we explore a crucial element of the open data movement: geographic information systems (GIS). Time and again, we have seen how GIS facilitates government to visualize, question, analyze, interpret and understand data, and reveal complex relationships, patterns and trends.

But at the Esri DC R&D Center, a talented team is looking at ways to not only leverage the power of GIS, but also open data. The Esri DC R & D Center is focused on creating, designing and developing cutting edge web applications to make GIS more accessible and help drive better public sector decisions.

Read More: http://www.govloop.com/profiles/blogs/lessons-learned-to-create-the-open-gis-platform


How committed are the G7 countries to open data?

Aug042014

Interesting piece from the Sunlight Foundation, which has ranked the G7 countries based on their commitment to Open Data.

While the G7 (previously G8) countries pledged to make data “open by default” and “usable by all” last summer, many of their open data action plans show hesitations and difficulties to guarantee their data will be free of charge.

Sunlight has been following the development of the G8 Open Data Charter since it was signed. G8 Leaders agreed to follow five open data principles and publish their own national action plans detailing how to implement the Charter. Four countries failed to launch their plans by the deadline of October 2013, and Germany has still yet to release its plan — now nine months delayed.

Read More: http://sunlightfoundation.com/blog/2014/07/28/g8-open-data-charter-action-plan-open-data-by-default-but-you-may-have-to-pay-for-it/


Data Into Dollars: SpotCrime Maps Crime Data

Jul302014

Interesting article from Socrata on a crime data aggregator called SpotCrime, which utilizes open data to provide users with information via multiple platforms. The service also layers the data in the case of multiple law enforcement agencies working on the same problem (i.e. local police, campus police, transit police).

When Colin Drake’s GPS was stolen from his car, a little lightbulb went off in his head. The incident got him thinking about crime and its connection to geography. He spoke to Socrata about crime data, location, and mapping.

“I had a police report to show that the car had been broken into, but I wanted to see where it happened, and if my neighbors had reported similar incidents,” Drake says. So, seven years ago, Drake started mapping the crimes he found reported in his local newspaper. At the time, that was the best way to get crime data quickly.

Read More: http://www.socrata.com/blog/data-dollars-spotcrime/


New in Chicago: Bike Parking Request Map

Jul282014

Interesting use of OpenPlans Shareabout software in Chicago: requests for bike parking. Some cool stuff being done with geolocation and civic tech.

Chicago DOT recently launched a new bike parking requests website, using Shareabouts. It’s a neat project, and bike parking requests are flooding in.

Beyond being a neat example of responsive government, the project is also a great case study for how we work at OpenPlans.

Read more: http://blog.openplans.org/2014/07/the-openplans-way/


Using Civic Tech to help with City Zoning

Jul222014

Great piece from Government Technology on a civic tech tool that helps entrepreneurs, real estate developers, and city planners speed up the zoning inquiry process.

For cities hailing businesses to bolster tax revenues, the courtship can be paradoxical. Cities launch campaigns, initiatives and incentives, only to bury potential prospects in tangles of regulatory paperwork and planning regulation. The process can be deal-breaking.

To ease the burden on officials, required to regulate, and on business owners, who must navigate city codes, one civic tech startup has released a new question-and-answer tool that maps open zoning areas based on an applicant’s interests. The tool, called ZoningCheck, comes fromOpenCounter, a Code for America Accelerator company and Knight Foundation grant recipient.

Read more: http://www.govtech.com/local/Cities-Use-Civc-Tech-Tool-that-Maps-Zoning-Codes-for-Potential-Businesses.html


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