Campers on the last day of CityCamp Raleigh prepare their presentation.
The first ever Citycamp Raleigh was a huge success. The Friday government and business panels were thought provoking and insightful about how data can be used if it was opened up to the public. The unconference format was a perfect fit for the many discussions and brainstorming sessions that took place throughout the day Saturday and Sunday. After this weekend, I’m inspired and motivated to demand that our city, county, and state open up more data to the public for our consumption. Transit, parking, zoning, crime, pollution are all examples of the types of data being gathered already and could potentially be released to the public.
A really great story I heard during the CityCamp discussions was of an open data experiment that took place in Washington DC. The city of Washington DC opened up their transit data in a friendly format for web and app developers to play with. In a short time, many applications were created by citizens or small companies. While most failed to take hold, the few that did stick eventually became adopted by many users of the transit system.
What I like about things like this is that the city does not spend money on one application and we are forced into that one environment. What are the chances that it may fail? By opening up the data and allowing independent developers to take a stab at making an application, we can learn what works and what doesn’t before the city spends money. The risk is lessened this way.
I could go on and on about the benefits of open data and how other cities are embracing this philosophy but I’ll stop here and move on to the city council agenda for this week, the meeting on June 7th, 2011. Here in the special items section:
Open Government/Open Source Systems
During the May 3, 2011, Council meeting, Councilor Gaylord presented a resolution
concerning open government by encouraging the use of open source systems and insuring
open access to public data. It was directed that the item be placed on the May 17, agenda
During the May 17, meeting, several questions were voiced by Council members and it
was directed that the item be placed on this agenda for further consideration. A copy of
the proposed resolution is included in the agenda packet.
If you support this and want to see more data available to the public then I want to ask readers to e-mail their councilors and tell them to adopt this. Info to get it done is below.
E-mail the entire council at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Write your own e-mail or copy and paste this one.
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