I'm back from San Jose, where I presented DIYcity to a room of mapping and GIS professionals and enthusiasts at O'Reilly Where 2.0 last week (photo here). The presentation was well-received, with lots of people approaching me with good ideas and feedback afterwards. (One idea I liked: DIYcity should build apps that are *more* local, that people implement at the neighborhood level, not the city level. The reasoning was that neighborhoods are the basic cellular unit of community, easier to get adoption, and then easier to replicate from neighborhood to neighborhood).
Now since I've been back I've been working on the 311 document that everyone submitted ideas on a few weeks ago. We should have something good on that soon, and I'll let you know as soon as we do.
Also today SickCity is featured in the Wall Street Journal, in a story titled "Health Data Proves Contagious On Social Media". If you have a subscription, see it here. If not, you can see a version of it on MarketWatch here.
BTW, the media story about SickCity currently is how we got trounced by all of the bad data from the swine flu epidemic, and how we are learning from that. But in fact the site itself seems to be working great these days - very low noise, very good signal. We're making a few more tweaks to it, and at that point I wouldn't put it past SickCity to actually pick up on a flu outbreak in a city in real time if one occurred. So I think the swine flu was good for SickCity all in all, and I think it's time for a new storyline about it.
On a more general level, I feel like SickCity definitely proves the central premise of DIYcity, namely that ordinary people working with freely-available data can build tools that can make their cities work better - and not just marginally better, but radically better. What else can we do in this regard? A lot I think.
But mostly on my mind right now is how to take DIYcity to the next level. It is clear to me and to everyone I talk to that it's ready to go there, and it's got to go there. The question is just where "there" is exactly and how to get there. Any silence from me on the site these days is really just due to that question swimming around in my head. Rather than creating lots of new activity on the site, I would rather push it to a new level and then create that activity. I've been having lots of very good chats with people on how to do this, people like Fred Wilson of USV, several notable people and groups out west, and friends here in NYC. I'm getting a good picture in my mind now of where to take this. It's not 100% clear yet, but I feel like all it needs is about 3 espressos, a notepad, and a spare hour to get me there.
Hopefully I'll get a window for that to happen soon, make a plan and have something to report on!