If you have a moment to read and respond to this blog post at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, I would appreciate it. Part of the difficulty in getting open gov data is raising it to awareness as a priority.
Milwaukee County mapping site using copyrighted data
By Ben Poston of the Journal Sentinel
May. 26, 2009
Sometimes, being virtually connected isn't enough. Sometimes you have to show up in meatspace. Digital democracy fans, your presence is invited/welcomed/needed tomorrow Thursday May 7, 11:15am, downtown Manhattan at 250 Broadway, 14th Floor Hearing Room or up in Albany at The Capitol Building, Room 328, for the launch of the new New York State Senate website, nysenate.gov.
Here's the announcement, from their communications folks:
Welcome to YOUR New York SENATE web site.
Though we live in the 21st century, most government bodies remain stuck in the technological dark ages.
Under the leadership and vision of Majority Leader Malcolm Smith, the New York State Senate is undertaking a series of reforms that will change the way New York State government operates. The goal of these reforms is to return government to the people of New York--Democrats and Republicans, Upstaters and Downstaters alike. Rules reform was the first step of many reform measures we are taking.
As a key milestone in this process, the new New York State Senate website, NYSENATE.GOV, will provide the technological underpinning of a new Senate dedicated to serving New Yorkers more effectively and openly.
We invite you to a special press conference to learn about the new website and the many other innovations the New York State Senate is undertaking by leveraging the latest communications technology. The presentation will include a walk-through of the website followed by a hands-on Q&A session.
The New York State Senate's new Twitter and Facebook accounts will also formally launch that same day. Follow @NYSenate for updates.
A live stream of the press conference will also be available on
http://www.nysenate.gov. Questions sent to @NYSenate via Twitter will be included in the live Q&A session.
Full disclosure: Along with Andrew Rasiej, I've been consulting with the NY Senate staff on this project.
A promising idea or bonkers? More at an SCA wiki page
(Sorry about the ads, signed in users get an ad free version) or in brief at we20
we20 Nesta Challenge
A we20 unconference 3 days before the G20 London Summit.
Have booked a place to organise a breakout group to discuss Open national and local carbon accounts
If you sign in to the main site please consider voting for this plan.
Remaining (free) tickets via Eventbrite
WMATA just announced the availability of its schedule and route information on its website:
I read today's Times-Picayune and was struck be David Marcello's column
Seeking real reform in city procurement:
Headlines scream about who's ahead in the mayor-council battle over awarding city contracts: "Council fails to override mayor's veto!" Lost in the shuffle is the important issue that underlies these conflicts: How can we reform the way City Hall selects architects, engineers, lawyers and other professional services contractors?
For the hundredth time I was frustrated and wanted to do something about our dysfunctional city government. A few minutes later, during my Saturday morning blog reading, I ran across a fellow soul, Timothy M. O'Brien writing for the O'Reilly blog on Government Transparency is Our Responsibility: Apps for America, who is frustrated on a grander scale:
Regardless of your political ideas, if you are watching the slow machinery of our Federal government switch gears and are wondering how to involve yourself, you don't need to send in a resume to some government official or even ask anyone's permission. Governance, and government generally, is not the protected domain of elected or appointed officials, it is the product of individual initiative transformed into collective desire.
O'Brien has some ideas about how to put this manifesto into action, and in particular calls our attention to Sunlight Labs Apps for America contest:
Sunlight Labs is one of several organizations dedicated to the idea of great transparency in government, and they are sponsoring a competition for people to use several open source APIs and tools to create novel applications and ways to slice and dice gov't data. You can enter today, you don't have to ask anyone's permission, and all you need to do is join a Google Group and register for an API key.
A few minutes later, I ran across a post about DIYcity, and it suddenly became clear that I could finally do something. The result is DIY New Orleans, and a new DIY city topical group on Government Transparency. Consider this a first step towards "Apps for NOLA".
Everyone loves tamales and everyone loves late night situations where a friendly stranger delivers hot fresh tamales right to your bar stool. So, after some intense conversations surrounding the Tamale Guy here in Chicago, we came up with a great idea. What if it were some how possible to follow the Tamale Guy via Twitter as he made his rounds? A user community that would tweet when and where they saw the tamale guy and then users could be able to follow the progress by following the twitter.com/tamaletracker (tamaleguy was already taken).
How it works:
- twitter users send a @Reply to @tamaletracker when they see the Tamale Guy at their favorite pub in Chicago.
- then a scheduled listening service looks for any @Replies that have come into twitter.com/tamaletracker.
- when a new tweet comes in, the twitter.com/tamaletracker account then ReTweets on their behalf.
- twitter users sign up to follow twitter.com/tamaletracker or simply go to twitter.com/tamaletracker.
- choose to recieve sms alerts when twitter.com/tamaletracker tweets.
I created this the other day and have not tested it beyond my own tweets up until now. So if anyone does choose to use this little tool please let me know what bugs you find or if it just plain doesn't work for you.
Sorry to post to two groups, but I think this essay and interview with Usman Haque, creator of Pachube, is worth general discussion as well as posting in sensor networks. Interesting that Bruce Sterling was involved as "visionary adviser".
The possibilities of this forum are practically limitless - so let's start exploring them! While we haven't had a physical meet up (yet) this space can be a starting point for Twin Cities specific DIY ideas. Please, respond to this thread with
-what the ideal DIY TC would look like
-urgent (TC specific) issues you want to tackle with DIY tech
-next steps in addressing those issues
Also: how can we spread the news about this project? Like any forum, it depends on a quantity of quality contributors - spread the word!
Check out what's being done in London to create a global sensor data repository - the YouTube of sensor data - that lays the foundation for interactive environments and remote sensing applications.
The MetLife Foundation and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation are partnering for the eighth year to recognize, sustain, and share the work of innovative partnerships between community groups and police that promote neighborhood safety and revitalization.
Awardees will receive cash grants ranging from $15,000 to $25,000 each. Case studies about award-winning partnerships will be disseminated throughout the community development and law enforcement industries. Previous winners have used award money to pay for special patrols, trainings, and equipment for officers.
Grants will be awarded in two categories. Neighborhood Revitalization Awards (six grants of $15,000 to $25,000 each) celebrate exemplary collaboration between community groups and police that result in crime reduction as well as economic development activity, including real estate development, business attraction, and job growth. Special Strategy Awards (six awards of $15,000 each) will be given to community and police partners that have achieved significant accomplishments in applied technology, aesthetics and greenspace improvement, diversity, inclusion and integration, drug market disruption, gang prevention and youth safety, or seniors and safety.
Further information and a link to the full Request for Proposals is available at the LISC Web site.