The London-based Networked Neighbourhoods has released a set of extremely important studies on "the social impact of citizen-run online neighbourhood networks and the implications for local authorities."
This connects to the heart of the use of open government by the public - you need online public spaces where citizens in the context of governance (particularly with elected officials who can say, these are MY voters talking) are asking for information and generating new public opinion. These online spaces be they "community sites" or a dozen of the different technologies and approaches, are essential for everyday citizens to discuss government and broader community affairs. These exchanges generate general demand for and often specific requests for government information.
Also, from a DIY perspective, it is though these spaces that we see critical mass local adhocracy or coproduction opportunities emerge. (This what we see increasingly here http://e-democracy.org/nf at the neighborhood level.)
Very very in-depth - report links and my take on their work:
Included in the blog post above are updates on the proposed "Meet Your Neighbors Online Week" and the Neighborly nearest neighbors social networking idea.
In the FY 2011 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies
Appropriations Requests, there is a $1 Million request for the Major
Cities Chiefs of Police Association which would be used to purchase
services from CrimeReports.com.
CrimeReports.com is a private company that makes contracts with
municipal police forces to provide their crime data to the public on
the CrimeReports.com website--but according to the PDs' specifiations.
In the process, the public information that the source crime data is
may seem to become more accessible, but this is not the case.
CrimeReports is contending in a current federal case that public crime
data becomes CrimeReports' own proprietary product in the form
provided on CrimeReports.com. (See links below and The Citizen Media
Law Project's article, "Public Engines to World: Look, But Don't Touch
the Crime Data"
In this view it would be technically illegal for someone to duplicate
or republish material from CrimeReports.com by other means, which many
PDs may use as their sole or primary means of providing public access
to crime data. (It is not access to data, it is access to a limited
representation of some data.) This is not only bad for public and
media oversight, it is bad for technologists who wish to tap public
data for research and applications.
From the appropriations document:
Project: The National Crime Map Expansion
Purpose: The National Crime Map currently includes more than 800 law
enforcement agencies across the country; its aim to make incident
level crime data available to the general public at the neighborhood
level within 24 hours of occurrence.
Location: Draper, Utah
Recipient of Funds: Major Cities Chiefs of Police Association
Explanation/Justification: Very few members of the public have ready
access to street level crime information on a timely basis. This
funding will allow any law enforcement agency in the United States to
connect to the existing National Crime Map, CrimeReports.com.
Currently, more than 800 agencies have already joined at an average
total cost of $110 per month. Through this funding, CrimeReports.com
will be able to expand the map and drop the cost of integrating and
deploying the system to roughly $20/month per agency, regardless of
size, population served, or members of the community served. In
contrast, cities that build their own portals spend $50,000 - $100,000
per agency to implement local crime maps.
Are you located in the Sacramento, Yolo, or Solano County areas and interested in Open Government?
If so, please get in touch.
I'd like to connect with people interested in improving government, through transparency and civic engagement.
I'm currently working a project called "Democracy Map", which is designed to be an open database (with API) for all government agencies and eventually public officials that developers can contribute to and build upon to provide hyperlocal public content.
There is an open conference call on May 3rd at 11am via Skype, and all feedback is more than welcome.
Reposted announcement from Philip Ashlock, The Open Planning Project:
I'd like to invite you to take part in the initiative to bring cities together in the pursuit of sharing technology and standards for 311 services. Please forward this to other interested parties.
To attend or see the current list of attendees including other cities: http://open311.eventbrite.com/ (So far the 311 teams from NYC, D.C., Toronto, Columbus, and other cities are attending)
On October 24th, The Open Planning Project will host Open311 DevCamp at their NYC office. Please register to attend either in person or remotely via Eventbrite (it’s free). This is a DevCamp style un-conference to coordinate a standard specification for 311 services. Washington D.C’s 311 API will be a major case-study for developing a more universal 311 API. In general, this DevCamp will be an opportunity to discuss and develop what’s needed to make 311 services more accessible and for cities to share knowledge for mutual benefit. The event is intended for developers, project managers, and policy makers involved with 311 services. We encourage those involved with 311 services from all cities to take part. If you cannot attend in person, please sign up as a remote attendee and we’ll provide you with information about how to connect to the DevCamp remotely.
Ultimately this conversation will lead to a standard specification for 311 services, but the very first goal is to create an environment for knowledge-sharing and best practices.
On the same day there will another event in NYC that focuses on coordinating open technology for mobile devices and we plan to coordinate with that event as well: http://openmobilecamp.eventbrite.com/
I hope you can be involved or can forward this to the most relevant person in your city. Please let me know if you have any questions.
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
Ok, so on 9th March, Transport Minister Stephen Joyce outlined New Zealand's infrastructure's current and future needs over the coming 20 years. Don't know about you, but I'm not prepared to wait for the creation of government-driven projects that try to solve questions that open technology can already answer.
How about approaching something simple for a starting point. Is there any way we can make sense of the jumbled mess of government websites - help communicate Wellington's services and culture in a joined-up way, so that people can actually get value from them?
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.
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!
Join us @ ChangeCamp Toronto
We'll be discussing DIY Toronto, Hyper Local and the Social API
Saturday, January 24, 2009 from 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM (ET)
101 College Street
Toronto, Ontario M5G 1L7