Open Data Improves Lives

In case you missed it on Sunday, the New York Times had a great article on the importance of government-published open data and its benefits to business and community. The article, by Richard H. Thaler of the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago, singled out the pioneering efforts of San Francisco’s government and developers:

For some years, Bay Area transit systems had been tracking the locations of their trains and buses via onboard GPS. Then someone got the bright idea to post that information in real time. Thus the delightful app Routesy was born. Install it on a smartphone and the app can tell you that your bus is stuck in traffic and will be 10 minutes late — or it can help you realize that you are standing on the wrong street, dummy. It gives consumers a great new way to find out when and where the bus is coming, and all at minimal government expense.

Find the full Times article here, and check out DataSF for more good bits. 

Gov 2.0, News, Open Data, Public Participation

San Francisco’s Open Data Efforts On Display

San Francisco’s aggressive open data efforts were on display this week, as civic and technology leaders took the stage at sf.govfresh, an event highlighting technology innovation in City government. City CIO Chris Vein (who also was recently interviewed by ideation solutions firm BrightIdea) and Department of Technology innovations manager Jay Nath explained how the City is leveraging innovators in and out of government to create a culture that creates valuable new applications at little to no cost. Jay’s presentation on Open 311 APIs is here.

The event on Wednesday night also features several local developers who’ve built mobile and Web applications using open data from San Francisco and other government agencies. These included Routsey, MomMaps, and Crimespotting. You can find the entire catalogue of apps built with SF data at the SF Innovations Showcase.

Lawrence Grodeska, pictured, of SF Environment, explained efforts to create a common standard for apps focused on recycling information and called on local developers to submit proposals to develop the next generation of SF’s “EcoFinder.”

Event host Adobe livestreamed the event, and a replay is available here.

Also on Wednesday, I was on air for John Moore’s Social Ecosystem Lab podcast to talk about the SF City Attorney’s social media programs and broader open government efforts in San Francisco. You can listen to that interview here.

– Adriel Hampton