Hello all of you out there on DIYcity. It's been a long time since I've written in, and I just wanted to give a quick update on things.
First: progress on the new site is speeding along, though predictably taking ten times longer than expected. The idea has evolved and evolved into something very new and different, and I think exciting. It feels like we're in the home stretch toward a launch now, but one never knows for sure.
Then: wow, the world really is changing fast, isn't it? It has been almost exactly one year since DIYcity was launched, and in that time we've seen DC, San Francisco, NYC, Vancouver and Toronto all open up data sets for their cities. I've talked with tech people in other cities who say they're preparing to go down the same road. I think we can expect things to start moving even faster in the next year. (Really makes the case for a new version of DIYcity, no?)
Here are a few events coming up in the next month around open data sets, in various cities around the world:
A NYC Open311 Dev Camp October 24th
A Toronto Open Data Lab November 2
A San Francisco Open Data Event on November 7.
That's a very partial list, just culled from things I'm planning to (hopefully) attend. If you know of other events I've missed, feel free to post them here.
Some other links here, to things I've written around the web lately:
- How Long is Your City's Tail? on O'Reilly Radar.
- Getting Beyond Hyperlocal on Urban Omnibus.
Finally: apologies for all of the spam that was going out on DIYcity until recently. I think the site somehow became the target of a massive, global spam network. I've clamped down on the freewheelin' anyone-can-post-at-any-time nature of DIYcity for a bit, until it calms down, then will hopefully remove the clamps again once the coast is clear.
That's all for now. More to come...
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.
Wanted to make sure everyone sees today's NY Times article on the MTA slowly starting to open up access to data:
It's very good. Compare this quote from the MTA:
“It’s clearly an emerging area, and we’re going to keep trying to evolve to keep up with it,” said Jeremy Soffin, a spokesman for the authority.
to this quote from Portland:
“I look at it as a huge value for us,” said Carolyn Young, who oversees technology at TriMet. “We don’t have the resources in a small city compared to New York to have a bunch of developers making all this stuff. With the third-party applications, we’re getting work that we don’t have staff to do.”
The difference in attitude is striking. However, things are moving in the right direction! I'm sure that Nicholas' MTA summit was a big help in moving this process forward. Was this reporter there?
With all the green washing going on in this city, I find a tad absurd that there are guarded bike parking in most buildings, hotels, malls, etc but only for employees! Not really the right approach to spread biking as a commuting tool across Shanghai. What do you think?
We've been a bit quiet on this for the past few months, but I wanted to point you towards some code that's been started:
It's raw and incomplete, but definitely coming along. We've done a few test runs on actual buses to test out the location collection, which you can see here: http://bustracker.demo.topplabs.org/tracker/map
There are two primary pieces so far:
1) A mobile app (iphone/openmoko) for collecting and publishing real-time location info, using gps/cell triangulation/wifi
2) A server app (django) that accepts the location data and serves arrival predictions
As has been mentioned elsewhere on this site, it would be really fun to experiment with other combinations -- for example, using official bus location data (in cities where it's available), or using crowdsourced data (from brightkite/foursquare/etc). In theory, either of these approaches could be plugged in.
We've recently updated the project documentation, so there are now installation instructions and a mailing list for tech discussion. Also, please join us in #openbustracker on freenode.
It's been two years since this release from Transit Wireless about installing wireless technology into subway stations
Anyone aware of the status of the wireless access points in the subway stations? I was at 23rd & 8th Ave today and I was able to send a txt message from underground.
I just recently discovered DIYcity and am fascinated by the forward-thinking nature of this endeavor. As a planner and web developer it's right up my alley.
We have recently been kicking around some ideas about how to truly mobilize Twitter, to use it outside, on streets, in parks and in venues - accessible for anyone, not just the Twitter "elite". Beyond some of the obvious uses of Twitter, it's a great exchange format, merging information from both humans and machines in a very straightforward way.
Anyways, I don't want to go into much detail, since that's probably all old news for everyone here. We have put together a prototype that basically allows anyone to request the most recent tweets and link to more via text message. It works for both, Twitter accounts and hashtags, and anyone can post to hashtags via text message, if they are not on Twitter. In addition, we're playing with various sticker formats, to encourage interaction outside, on site. And that's where DIYcity comes in.
We'd love to brainstorm and test some use cases and some of the ideas discussed here seem perfect. As a start, some of our ideas include:
- Mobile dialogue in parks, squares, etc.: Use a hashtag as "discussion forum", to post safety issues ("6'5, bald guy with green shirt just stole my purse"), to fun stuff ("Need 2 more players for our volleyball game, come to xyz"), weather alerts, lost and found, etc.
- Mobilize announcements from delays, to parking spots (http://twitter.com/BoulderParking), to city infos (http://twitter.com/iknowdenver) and make them accessible beyond Twitter's user base.
- More advanced concepts of the mobile city (http://www.planetizen.com/node/39717)... again, going beyond the Twitter user base.
As I said, we have a prototype to play with at http://GuerrillaTweets.com and would love to get feedback, discuss the concept and assumptions and hopefully get some of you interested to play with it or collaborate.
Just thought if you're about to fly someplace from moscow it would be handy to have a place on the net to post
i)which airport youre departing from,
ii)at what time you're planning to arrive to the airport, and
iii)which tube station you're starting from
so that people could carpool and spare themselves expensive taxi service.
this is a sample of how it was done in the context of commuting to work: http://www.metro.net/riding_metro/commute_services/carpool_work.htm
The new DIYcity is finally underway, being constructed and on the road to launch. It's a great feeling after so much time spent considering approaches, assembling team members, etc., to see things actually being built.
Now we just have to build it, launch it, and hope that it's the right answer to the challenges facing everyone out there trying to make cities and communities work better.
I think it is.
As we get closer to launch, I'll start to unveil the new idea a bit more, talk about the insights and factors that have led to this change in the site, and introduce some of the new team members so that they can begin to have a presence on the site.
Until then, please continue to enjoy the site as it is!