Hey DIY New Yorkers, if you're in the city and you have a free hour at lunchtime today, think about swinging by the discussion on "open data standards" being held by the New York City Council Committee on Technology in Government. Here are the details:
This bill will come before the Technology in Government Committee on Monday, June 29th, 2009 at 1:00pm at 250 Broadway, 14th Floor Hearing Room, NY NY 10007.
Meeting should go for 2 hours, or until 3 PM.
Unfortunately I'm way up at Columbus Circle at the Personal Democracy Forum all day, don't think I'm going to be able to make it all the way down there for the meeting. But it sounds like a pretty important one - if you're interested in open data in NYC, please drop by and give them some input.
And if you go, *please* post notes to DIY NYC afterwards.
If you've been following the posts on DIYcity, you may have sensed recently that we've been in a sort of holding pattern. Launches of a couple of products in the spring and a flurry of activity around various ideas were followed by questions of how to make all of this work worthwhile to the people doing it, and how to sustain that work once people's initial enthusiasm for it has leveled off. As this happened production on DIYcity came to a standstill, and the site has been functioning as a sort of bulletin board for announcements about DIY-type developments ever since.
While this has gone on, I've been thinking and thinking about what shape DIYcity should take in order to address those questions of making work worthwhile and keeping the work going. I've been bouncing ideas and questions off of my growing list of brilliant advisors. I've been thinking about what the next stage of DIYcity is going to be, exactly.
With help from those advisors, I've finally got the plan. And it's good. It's exciting. I think it could become the most interesting thing I've ever worked on.
So the plan is there, ready to go. There are just a few (financial) matters to attend to before we can put it into action.
I'm going to start preparing for this new phase of DIYcity immediately behind the scenes, and just figure that the still-open stuff will work itself out by the time I'm done preparing. Then we'll get on to that next stage for DIYcity.
Until then, there may be a bit more of a holding pattern. We'll try to make that as interesting as possible for everyone, and hopefully it wont last too long.
I've been watching the discussion trying to figure out the DIY City's wavelength.
I think part of what we see emerging on the local (neighborhood) Issues Forums hosted by E-Democracy.Org fit your model of citizen problem-solving. My experience is that at the very very very local level people will pick shovels and do stuff, while up the chain people prefer their tax dollars to do the work so they don't have to be bothered.
On my local neighborhood Issues Forum - http://e-democracy.org/se - we've had people start community garden efforts, ask if people want to do a blood drive and then promote it, suggest and then organize a volunteer lake clean-up (only to run into trouble getting connected to the right person in the parks department for permission), buy flower bulbs in bulk for their homes with some left over for public space, etc. Recently, a mugging at a new local light rail stop generated a flurry of activity: http://blog.e-democracy.org/posts/355
Anyway, since a number of you will be at Participation Camp, I thought I should say hello. If any of you would like to talk neighborhoods online to gather tips from 15 years on the front lines of e-participation, check out the two sessions I'll be leading or virtually note - http://e-democracy.org/if - for an existing Webinar and some links here: http://pages.e-democracy.org/Social_media_in_local_public_life
Hi DIY City,
You can skip the first paragraph I'm sure, but check out what's happening at PCamp with open data.
Dear Fans of Transparency and Participation,
In recent weeks, several organizations in New York have taken big steps towards making New York City's public data accessible and useful to software developers. There's still a lot of work to be done, but the end of the story could be a wealth of new ways that citizens will be able to effectively and efficiently participate in the governance of their city. Several of those groups will be getting the ball rolling at this weekend's Participation Camp, an open and free unconference on citizen participation in government.
Register now to reserve your spot and stay up-to-date: http://participationcamp.org
Here's what's happening:
GALE A. BREWER, NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL
As Chair of the Committee on Technology in Government, Councilmember Brewer recently proposed comprehensive legislation for making New York City’s public data accessible and machine readable. She will host a discussion at Participation Camp on Saturday at 2:30 pm to discuss this legislation and get feedback from the open government community and interested citizens.
The bill, Introduction No. 991, can be read in full here.
OPEN 311 CODE SPRINT
Throughout PCamp, ITP’s workshop space will be open to collaboration on open government Internet applications. On Saturday, we’ll hold a sprint focused on Open 311: an initiative to make municipal data more readily available to programmers who want to make useful applications. Philip Ashlock from The Open Planning Project will help coordinate development of Open 311 related projects in conjunction with Open311.org. Peter Corbett, organizer of Washington D.C.’s ongoing Apps for Democracy Contest, will provide direction and best practices based on D.C.’s Open 311 API. We also encourage contestants of Apps for Democracy to work together at PCamp, as their July 1st deadline approaches. On Sunday, the workshop will remain open for any projects that grow out of Saturday’s efforts and the camp in general.
MARK BELINSKY, OPENMYCITY
Mark serves as director of Digital Democracy, but at PCamp he will lead a session on the OpenMyCity project. The goal of OpenMyCity is to find the best ideas about how to make use of municipal open data by asking citizens and organizations to answer a simple fill-in-the-blank question: “If I knew ___, I could do ___.”
OpenMyCity is backed by a coalition that formed around the Pioneers conference that took place recently in New York and Amsterdam. At PCamp, Mark will lead a workshop to build a plan for capturing as many stories as possible. This effort provides a human component to the technological and legislative efforts already happening around municipal data.
Cityleft has worked together with Travelsharing.netsons.org to develop an open source website for car pooling.
Carpooling (also known as car-sharing, ride-sharing, lift-sharing and covoiturage), is the shared use of a car by the driver and one or more passengers, usually for commuting (Wikipedia).
However Travelsharing.netsons.org extended this approach to other forms of mobility such as biking, hiking, and so on.
The website is still at its beta version. Users should join to the community in order to translate contents in local languages.
To take part to this Travelsharing.netsons.org project visit:
From the Open Gov google group:
from Sam Wong
date Mon, Jun 22, 2009 at 3:02 PM
subject [open-gov] Open Data Standards - New York Council
The New York City Council Committee on Technology in Government will be holding an important hearing on open data standards for all city agencies on June 29th at 250 Broadway (across the street from City Hall). This bill, Introduction 991 (available here: http://webdocs.nyccouncil.info/textfiles/Int%200991-2009.htm?CFID=251408...), is an effort to increase government transparency and access to public data.
The bill will require the City to create a centralized online repository of all publicly available information that is either produced or retained by the City. Furthermore, data published under this legislation will be done so in a format that will be readable by any computer device, whether that is a laptop or a phone. Not only will this collection of information be invaluable to elected officials, other government agencies and public advocates, but it can also be used by private citizens who could use the information in ingenious and unforeseen ways. Together, we believe these aspects will create a level of openness and accountability in Government unmatched by any city or State in the country.
This effort is inspired in part by both as an enhancement to processes already taking place within New York, and to parallel President Obama’s initiatives to incorporate open access to data normally not available in centralized databases, such as www.data.gov and www.recovery.gov. Introduction 991 could create a nycdata.gov, creating a new model for access, mobility and interactivity to a wide range of “data” on the local level. Data can be geolinked to already existing CityMap 2.0, a project started by New York City’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) that provides a one-stop shop and user-friendly map to provide a vast array of information for New Yorkers. Just imagine looking a restaurant’s ratings (and violations) on your computer or mobile device based on your search or GPS location. Furthermore, one could access a building’s permits or violations with mobile applications built off of existing Dept. of Buildings data. On the academic side, student researchers can research various legislation and statistics instantly. Open access to information ensures government accountability to provide the most detailed and user-friendly data format, while maintaining user privacy. Furthermore, we are seeking comments from web developers and webmasters on this bill, as they can provide some insight on the process and difficulties we might experience.
This bill will come before the Technology in Government Committee on Monday, June 29th, 2009 at 1:00pm at 250 Broadway, 14th Floor Hearing Room, NY NY 10007. Unfortunately, this hearing falls on the same day as Micah Sifry and Andrew Rasiej’s Personal Democracy Forum conference due to some unforeseen scheduling delays during the Council’s budget season. However, we are looking for members of the digital community to join us for 1-2 hours next Monday and help demonstrate support for the benefits of this legislation (The hearing occurs during the PdF Networking Lunch and should not last beyond 3 PM).
Please contact Kunal Malhotra [firstname.lastname@example.org], Director of Legislation and Budget, or Samuel Wong [email@example.com], Legislative Aide on Technology, if you want to attend the hearing and/or testify at this hearing. Our City Hall office number is (212)
We look forward to your participation.
I just read this article on CNET about open source mobile phone projects and their potential to revolutionize data collection from phone users. Snippet from the article:
Both companies/projects are interesting because they treat mobile as a data source, not as a computer.
In the case of InSTEDD (Innovative Support to Emergencies, Diseases and Disasters), it's a nonprofit that helps developing nations coordinate disaster relief efforts by helping relief agencies share, aggregate, and analyze data from mobile phones.
InSTEDD's GeoChat technology accomplishes this by enabling mobile phone users to broadcast alerts ("Typhoon has hit our city"), but it becomes even more interesting when combined with InSTEDD's Mesh4x technology
Mesh4x allows information to flow between established applications (like Excel, Access, GoogleEarth, MySQL, Oracle and many others), and between devices (laptops, smartphones, PDAs, and servers) reliably, selectively, and securely in a distributed "data mesh". If necessary, Mesh4X can synchronize data over nothing but a stream of SMS messages, merely by plugging an ordinary cellphone into a laptop.
Seems like this could be a big part of the puzzle involved in developing DIY Cities. I wonder if this will get widely implemented across platforms or if it will wallow in obscurity.
"The .nyc TLD brings the potential for a "civic media" that will allow residents to identify problems and opportunities while providing the tools to create stronger neighborhoods and a more livable city.
Here we consider the development of that civic media and how it can help neighborhoods better communicate in the coming years. "
I'm on vacation this week and only on the web here and there, so my posts to DIYcity will be slim for the next few days. I wanted to post a link to this, though, a post I wrote yesterday for O'Reilly Radar. It came as kind of a moment of clarity for me on how the whole gov2.0 space is shaping up. I think it's important to understanding DIYcity's place in the ecosystem of civic data - as well as understanding any other effort in relation to the whole. This could easily have been a post to DIYcity instead of Radar, but it ended up there. So I'll link out to it.
See the post here: http://bit.ly/r1grg
I think they are coordinated with persons from ResistorNYC in some way, at least space-wise, occasionally - http://www.makenyc.org