Civic Technology Showcase
Mobile apps, web services, data visualizations, informative maps and more are created when the community comes together to innovate on top of open data from government and other sources.
Below are examples of both working prototypes and code-a-thon ideas:
OMGTransit started life as mspbus.org, a project of Hack for Minnesota 2013. Thanks to a freely accessible API provided by MetroTransit, the mspbus.org team was able to put the first version of it’s website online in about 6 hours. Since then, the team has been invited to a White House open government event, became part of the Intel Innovation Pipeline program, re-branded with an eye towards national expansion, and added data for numerous travel services including Amtrak, Car2Go, NiceRide, and the UMN campus shuttles.
Adopt-a-Hydrant Twin Cities
Adopt-a-Hydrant Twin Cities was one of the first civic technology projects implemented in the Twin Cities. Taking advantage of the open source work done by Boston’s Code for America Fellows during 2011, the Adopt-a-Hydrant Twin Cities website quickly went online through the reuse of code and a small group of local technologists. In order to make Adopt-a-Hydrant usable in the Twin Cities, data on fire hydrant locations was requested and released by the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. During the winter of 2012 – 2013, Adopt-a-Hydrant was part of a community service project undertaken by third graders at St .Anthony Park. Elementary.
Projects and Ideas and Projects and Ideas
OMGTransit and Adopt-a-Hydrant are just two examples of nearly a hundred civic technology ideas that have been proposed and/or worked on at civic technology events held since the beginning of 2013. To learn more about all of these other ideas, please visit:
- Open Twin Cities’ Projects Page
- Examples of civic technology – CURA Tech
- the Visualizing Neighborhoods recap (with projects listing)
- the Hack for MN Project Ideas page
- the Capitol Code Project Ideas page
National and International
Chicago Health Atlas
The Chicago Collaborative is working with the Chicago Department of Public Health and five area hospital to map a variety of health information for the residents of Chicago. The Health Atlas allows you to see lead screening results in your neighborhood, the prevalence of asthma around the city, birthrates, and much more. The Atlas also allows a user to see how these measurements have changed overtime.
Civic Insight is another project that grew out of the Code for America fellowship program. Conceived as Blight Status for the City of New Orleans, Civic Insight has grown into a business that serves New Orleans as well as Palo Alto in order to help residents find out the status of distressed properties in their neighborhoods. By using data that these cities have made publicly available, Civic Insight is able to provide residents with an easy to use website that helps them manage building permit processes and acquire distressed homes that have become property of the city.
Even More Projects and Ideas
Again, the above is just the tip of the iceberg. Groups all over the country, and around the world, are producing great technology informed by the needs of citizens. To get a sense of what’s happening beyond Minnesota, checkout:
- Code for America: Apps and APIs, CfA Commons
- Smart Chicago Apps, OpenCity Apps, Civic User Testing Group, City of Chicago Civic Data Apps
- BetaNYC Project List, BigApps NYC
- Portland Civic Apps
- Civic Apps – Socrata
- Civic App of the Year – 2013 GovFresh Awards
- Apps for Europe – Expressly encouraging business start-ups based on open data, video showcase
The Knight Foundation has defined the civic technology landscape quite broadly. While Open Minnesota, will be more focused on activity building on government data, their diagram is helpful.