I see a few new people have joined the Milwaukee/Open Data group. If that's you, would you mind introducing yourself with a reply here, or email me at email@example.com?
What would you like to see being done on the web in Milwaukee?
FYI, we are also at www.creamcitizen.org.
I'm proposing that maybe we should meetup in-person and talk about some ideas. Would anyone else be interested in that? Is it too soon? Let's let this be the thread for discussing a possible meetup. Venue ideas?
(i'm in downtown / mt. adams but am perfectly happy to drive anyplace. i'm at work til 6 on weekdays.)
Last year a few of us here at The Open Planning Project built BlockPartyNYC.org. This project was done for Transportation Alternatives, mainly to promote their party sponsorship program. A sponsored block party received consulting on solutions to community problems like traffic, speeding, and noise and air pollution.
For this year of block parties in NYC, we have plans to make BlockPartyNYC the main hub for all 3000 NYC parties. We plan on receiving data feeds from Community Boards as they approve block parties and, in turn, advertising relevant parties on Community Board sites. We plan on having more advanced mapping, facebook integration, and other features. See the full specification.
If you're a developer out there and would like to help out please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. It's a fully open source project built in pylons and can be reused for other events. For example, last year we also used the software for ParkingDayNYC.org. Thanks and stay tuned.
Here is an initial list of ideas I came up with off the top of my head. I'd like to hear if anyone else in the group has any other ideas, or thoughts on how to work on these ideas.
CityCouncil2RSS - A lot of what council does is put online, but it would be nice if we had some feeds and such. I've also experimented with automatically adding contextual links into things like the meeting minutes.
Local Food Distribution - This is just a vague notion right now, but maybe something could be done to coordinate local farmers in new ways to get their goods to different types of consumers like restaurants. Inspiration here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CinciLocavore/message/3162
cincinnati twitter bots - ideas for bots welcome
Cincinnati Wiki - wiki.hereincincinnati.net (admittedly something of a pet project for me, but would love to get others involved).
Other suggestions welcome!
(Note: this is post is to test the waters as to how conversations proceed on the site. Try commenting, etc. to get a feel for it.)
There are some changes taking place on DIYcity this week, which are indicative of the way the site/organization is going, so we wanted to share with you:
• We're moving the site to a new server, one that gives us control over config files and such. This will happen later in the week, and will allow us to easily run our own apps on the site. This is a big step toward DIYcity becoming a place that actually launches and runs applications that reinvent cities, rather than just being a place for people to talk about these things.
• We're setting up a DIYcity code repository on GitHub. This will allow code for our apps to be accessed, shared, forked, and built on by anyone, easily. This too is a big step toward becoming the site we want DIYcity to be.
Once those two pieces are in place, the runway will be clear for takeoff.
And speaking of taking off, the First DIYcity Project is having finishing touches put on it by the awesome team of people who volunteered to make it happen. Hopefully if the right elements combine, we will have something to show early next week.
In the meantime, if you haven't already, brush up on last week's interesting discussions about Cooperative Bike Shares, and the prospect of setting up a test in Portland, as well as Distributed Bus Pingers. More good conversations to come this week...
Our project, http://suddenly.org , uses print publications, visual art, public gatherings, and conversation to pursue the same political forms and futures that DIYcity catalyzes with newer technologies. We publish books, present visual art, invite people to gather, eat, and talk together, and then we write about it and bring the conversation to new places and people. This activity has taken shape across a huge geography. From Sergio Pastor's suddenly post 10/3/08 http://suddenly.org/?p=593 : "Suddenly is not only an inquiry, but also an attempt to enact a new urban form of gathering and dispersal — a deliberate form aimed at the creation of a public, a publication. This new urban form [is] a directed attempt to take inspiration from the models and possibilities of the organization of resources provided by new urban patterns in order to take these new patterns seriously." From DIYCITY: "How can these technologies — Twitter bots, aggregators, social software, mobile apps — be applied to transform urban spaces, changing them from the centralized, hard-coded things they are today into finely-tuned, fluid, user-operated systems that are efficient, sustainable and fit for life in the 21st century?" Suddenly asks the same question, but of the older technologies of printed matter and physical gathering and conversation. I think the awesome common path ahead for us is to bring these older and newer technologies together in a a big robust ecology of self-inventing, shifting, morphing cities.
Hi there DIY San Francisco,
I don't know how many of you tune into the Discussions group on DIYcity, but an interesting conversation has emerged on creating a bottom-up pinging system for tracking bus locations in realtime and broadcasting those to others.
See beginning of conversation here:
...and continuation of conversation here:
Seeing as I used to take the 5 Fulton to work every morning back in my SF days, I keep thinking we should test this system out there. (Knowing when that bus was coming in the morning would have saved me a lot of time and headaches).
I was thinking a limited test on a single bus line would be a good start.
Is anyone interested in this?
Greetings DIY Portland!
I don't know how many of you are following along on the conversations happening in the Discussions group, but there is an interesting idea there for a Cooperative Bike Share that is sort of a grassroots, low-cost method for creating a municipal bikesharing program.
See explanation and discussion here:
It made me think of Portland for some reason.
Do you guys have a bike sharing program there, or one about to launch, and if not do you think Portland would be a good testbed for this (awesome) idea?
Bike share systems come up periodically over a period of years and in many communities (the WikiPedia page has a lot of info). The latest systems are electronic rental systems, with custom bikes and special locations for pick up and drop off. Very simple systems have existed in the past where bikes are just shared in a totally free way -- these systems are extremely cheap to set up, but the bikes always end up trashed or stolen. (Though there's a system in Portland that seems to just use a universal combination.)
I can imagine a very simple system based on combination bike locks, where the combination is sent via SMS, and locations are tracked (somewhat) voluntarily. You would sign up for this service, maybe placing a modest deposit (and also confirming your identity). Then you would send your location to the service (as a text) and it would respond with the nearest bike, and the combination. You would use the bike, and when you were done you would text the new location of the bike.
There would be some accountability with this system, because if you simply don't return the bike there would be some record of this. The service could also continue to pester you if you don't record the new location of the bicycle.
The security is not very high, and it would certainly be possible to take a loss on many bikes. But considering people *almost* considered it economically viable to do this sort of system with no money or accountability involved, perhaps just a small amount of accountability would resolve these problems. The capital expenses should be much smaller than more formal systems.
(I first thought about this idea here and restated for this forum)
I wanted to split the 'pinger' idea off from last week's discussion on DIYcity Challenge #3, and focus on it by itself, outside of the context of the NYC MTA questions.
It seems to me that a simple pinging application built into users' phones could potentially be hugely valuable to cities for a variety of uses.
The app would take the GPS info from the user's phone, along with unique ID, and one or two other parameters, and send that at regular intervals to a centralized server.
That server would then receive that info and be able to plot the location, course and speed of the person hosting that app.
If the other parameters included in each ping included, for example, the ID of a particular bus, or a bus route, or a highway number, or any other data that gave that ping concrete meaning, the ping could then act as a very simple mechanism for tracking movement - either movement of traffic in general, or of transit systems, or whatever.
As others have pointed out, you wouldn't need that many devices participating to be able to draw general conclusions about traffic movement or transit locations.
What you've got then is a distributed, DIY tracking system that would be for all intents and purposes free to cities to implement (as opposed to the hundreds of millions in setup and however much in maintenance that a centralized system would cost).
For cities that already have tracking systems, this could be cheaper to maintain. For cities that don't yet have them this could be a way to get them without spending millions.
Big problems include:
- getting adoption by a critical mass of users (and what defines critical mass in this case?)
- finding an easy way to get those extra parameters into the ping (asking users to enter bus IDs into their phones each time they ride the bus isn't an acceptable route in my opinion).
What do others think about this? Is there anything here, or is this a pipe dream? Could this be of service to cities anywhere?
I'm especially curious to hear opinions from people with actual expertise in any of the areas this touches on.