With a population of about 75,000 people, the City of Evanston, Illinois has made greater use of digital technology than many much-larger cities, in the process earning national recognition such as the 2014 Tech Savvy Award and the 2014 Web 2.0 Award.
Now, Evanston has launched another major digital service for its citizens: an open data portal, powered by Junar.
“Evanston is proud to become one of only a select few communities of our size to enact a full open data portal,” said Digital Services Coordinator Luke Stowe. “Open data not only improves transparency and increases community engagement, it provides residents and stakeholders the opportunity to access and leverage public information for everyone’s benefit.”
The portal, called openEvanston, already has 89 datasets, graphs, maps, and dashboards for the public to view, download, or even incorporate into mobile applications. Topics include 311 municipal service requests, building permits, licenses and inspections, crime statistics, employee compensation, water & sewer operations, city parks, and more.
The openEvanston site was launched at a public meeting of the City Council last week. Click here to watch (open data portion ends at the 16:16 mark).
This post submitted by Chris Sayre
February 3rd, 2015
The City of Anaheim, CA, launched its new Open Data Portal during the Mayor’s annual “State of the City” address today. With a population of over 336,000 people, Anaheim is the largest municipality in Orange County and the 10th largest in California.
The driving force behind this initiative was Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait himself, who decided that the City would field its own Open Data Portal after seeing that other US cities were embracing this innovation. Mayor Tait directed the Department of IT to find and implement a solution in time for the “State of the City” address, and Junar was invited to bid after a market survey determined it to be a leading vendor in the Open Data space. Junar was awarded the contract in November 2014, and implementation work commenced immediately between City staff and Junar specialists in order to achieve the City’s ambitious goal of fielding a robust Open Data Portal in time for the annual address just 10 weeks off.
Anaheim’s Open Data Portal launched with a compliment of 79 open data resources: dashboards, spreadsheets, charts, and maps. More resources will be added in the future. The portal is available at: http://anaheim.opendata.junar.
I’m also committed to creating a city hall that is accountable to every resident and business. This means having a city government that is transparent and open. When I first took office, I challenged our city staff to come up with ideas that would bring visibility to everything we’re doing. And we’re making progress.
Today we’re launching the Open Data Portal – a website providing city facts, city budgets, statistics and reports to all interested parties.
Just look at this: From crime mapping to mining new business permit applications, we’re releasing this data to the public – to app developers, community organizations, businesses and individuals.
For example – if you’re one of the developers thinking about investing in Beach Boulevard, right now you can go and find the kind of businesses already operating there, what new businesses are pulling licenses, and all sorts of things about West Anaheim.
The Open Data Portal will create economic activity that we can’t even foresee today. And it makes us more responsive to the needs of all of our citizens. This is transparency and accountability at work for our city.
This post submitted by Tim Tierney
- In which city would I like to live?
- Which cities have transparent and innovative leaders?
Lots of alternatives on where to live. The usual criteria: weather, entertainment, education, crime, pollution. If I have to pick a city now I include some new variables, like for example:
- * Government Transparency
- * Services that Government offers
- * Government interest in generating a good ecosystem for business
- * Government staff & council is there to really serve constituents
For more than 3 years we have been working closely with Government leaders, and as we got to know them better and to see the daily battles they have to fight we have been increasingly energized.
Cities like Bahia Blanca for example, with the leadership of an innovative CIO (Esteban Mirofsky) fully supported by City Manager Gustavo Bevilacqua, have been able to imprint a lot of really positive change making a difference and an example to follow.
Here some examples of what they did to imprint such difference:
- - First of all, making the decision to push transparency forward by creating an Open Government Agency focused on such topic
- - Then, bringing on board a leader like Esteban Mirofsky (more info in this blogpost)
- - Generating an Open Data Policy quickly followed by a first iteration of an Open Data Portal that has evolved since its inception including a lot of valuable data
- - Pushing innovation that today translates into more and better services for citizens
- - Collaborating with the private sector and attracting the interest of entrepreneurs and tech savvy individuals to add value to the city (Manuel Aristarán, now at MIT, is a great example as it is the company EyCon to name one)
- - Addressing city problems by understanding them well and then offering tech solutions to real priority issues in the city such as Environment (data & apps) that is crucial in a petrochemical hub, or the new Parking solution that involved tech startups of the Bahia Blanca ecosystem.
In a short timeframe lots of things have been achieved and citizens in general have been positively impacted.
Latin America should be proud about the fact that Bahía Blanca will represent the region in the upcoming “Smart City Expo” in Barcelona.
Congrats Bahia Blanca! Esteban Mirofsky! Gustavo Bevilacqua!
–> How many civic apps there are in my city? Which one should I use? How can I know which app to use at the right moment?
Innovative and Proactive Governments are deploying more and better services every day in the form of web and mobile apps. The next challenge is to solve the easy navigation of all those apps to find the right one at the right time.
Since apps stores became popular, either in the Android or Apple worlds, users know they can find almost any app they need. Though we will not always find a great app for every problem, we are almost sure we can find something that may help us.
Clearly, the Open Data movement, together with the proliferation of civic hacking and initiatives of proactive and innovative governments to generate innovation is resulting in more and more useful apps.
For example in Chile, Government has been very proactive and successful in:
- 1. Creating a very complete Open Data Portal (http://datos.gob.cl/datasets)
- 2. Opening up very valuable Data Resources (http://recursos.datos.gob.cl/home/)
- 3. Incentivating the development of civic apps (http://datos.gob.cl/aplicaciones)
Now, How many citizens are checking government sites to find out which new apps they can use? How can they know when there is a new app that can help them on what they need? Probably not too many.
Other than the promotion that Governments are doing about such innovative new services and apps, it is becoming clear that a platform should solve the problem of providing the right civic app to citizens when they need them. Such Platform should take into account Citizens profiles, contexts, what they need to achieve with the city, and with all these information then the right app should pop up.
This brave new world in which Open Data is allowing innovative Governments to increase the connection with citizens bringing citizen engagement to a completely new level will transform Democracy as we know it taking it to the next level.
Tech and innovation, powered by Open Data and proactive transparency is bringing Governments and Constituents closer and closer. This is a big motivation for us at Junar to work hard every day helping innovative Government leaders.
Desde hace bastante tiempo estamos teniendo conversaciones con Steven Adler de IBM. El dedica mucho de su tiempo a estudiar el valor de los datos. En su rol de Data Strategist ha trabajado con muchas empresas que tienen muchos datos y a partir de ellos generan valor.
Hace poco escribió algo interesante acerca de como ´valorar´ los datos y me pareció interesante la analogía que daba.
En primer lugar, los activos suelen valorarse de distintas maneras para llegar a determinar un precio justo por los mismos. La pregunta es ¿Como podemos encontrar el precio de un dato?
El tema con los datos es que no son escazos. Una vez que ellos existen millones de personas pueden tener acceso a los mismos ¿Si la oferta es infinita el precio del dato deberia tender a cero? No necesariamente.
Steven habla de valorar a los datos como se cuantifica el valor del trabajo humano. El potencial laboral de un ser humano está dado en gran parte por su educación y habilidades o capacidad de trabajo. Pero el valor económico real se alcanza cuando este ´activo humano´ está trabajando y se puede definir un ´salario´.
De la misma manera, el valor económico del dato sólo se puede cuantificar cuando el mismo está siendo utilizado y no cuando está en una base de datos o un servidor haciendo nada.
Coincidimos 100% con Steven. Los datos sólo valen cuando pueden ser utilizados por alguien. Cuando un científico de datos, un analista, un periodista, un ciudadano, un desarrollador o una empresa pueden tener fácil acceso al dato y transformarlo en algo mas.
Para ese motivo desde hace varios años estamos trabajando fuerte en la Plataforma Junar de Datos Abiertos. Para permitir que los que generan los datos puedan dar lugar a creación de valor!
Muchas organizaciones en Latino América y USA están transformando los datos que vienen de sus servidores, bases de datos y sistemas en datos que el resto del mundo ahora puede acceder fácilmente. Si estos datos son fáciles de acceder, entender, utilizar y acceder via API, mucho valor se estará generando.
Fué muy bueno participar en semanas pasadas de conversaciones en varios países de la región respecto a tecnologías que pueden utilizar las ONGs para llevar adelante sus misiones.
En particular, fué muy energizante participar del TechCamp en El Salvador con la oficina de eDiplomacy. La muy buena organización por parte de Pritam y Laura y el liderazgo de Eric Nelson, y el grupo espectacular de gente que con mucho conocimiento están llevando a cabo misiones bien complejas en la región hicieron de todo esto una experiencia muy valiosa.
Con una agenda bien apretada de 2 días se pudo cubrir:
1) Explicación de varias tecnologías a todos los participantes
2) Discusiones sobre ejes temáticos como transparencia, igualdad, derechos humanos, elecciones, seguridad, entre otros
3) Aplicación de tecnologías para resolver algunos de los problemas mas relevantes
Luego de varios años en esta industria de Datos Abiertos / Open Data es un lujo ver como no sólo los Gobiernos sino también estos emprendedores sociales activos en la sociedad civil están liderando y utilizando tecnologías para mejorar el contexto en Latino América.
Usually, when we find someone reluctant or unsure about Open Data, it’s because they’ve bought into one or another popular misperception.
Maybe they think it’s too expensive, or that no one really cares about Open Data, or that there are no solid reasons for investing in a data portal. We don’t know where these 5 myths came from, but here’s how we answer them:
1. Open Data is expensive and difficult. Sure, anything can be expensive and difficult. But Open Data doesn’t have to be. With today’s cloud-based platforms, an Open Data portal can be established without a big hardware investment, and there’s no reason to pay for thousands of development hours. By using an existing, off-the-shelf framework, a portal can go from concept to implementation in a matter of weeks.
2. There’s no return on investment. Where’s the ROI? Let us count the ways. If your measuring stick is increased civic engagement and greater transparency, it’s hard to argue there’s no ROI from Open Data. There’s measurable ROI in efficiency and cost savings in handling public records requests. And if economic development is what you seek, check out a recent McKinsey & Company study that found Open Data can unlock $3 trillion to $5 trillion a year in economic value.
3. Nobody cares about my city’s data. Maybe datasets of 311 calls, animals in the public shelter or tree locations seem mundane to you, but somebody out there cares. It’s true that not every dataset will appeal to every constituent. However, you’ll be surprised by the ingenious uses your constituents and third-party application developers will find for your data.
4. Mapping is the only use for Open Data. Maps are fun, no doubt, but they’re only one way Open Data is becoming invaluable in public life. For example, Santa Clarita, Calif., is using an Open Data portal to encourage awareness and participation in elections. Citizens can follow election results in real time, viewing raw vote totals or totals by precinct. Palo Alto, Calif., provides visualizations of 311 call data so residents can track problems in their neighborhoods in 15 different ways. Uses for Open Data are limited only by the imagination.
5. Open Data is only for large government organizations. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Off-the-shelf, cloud-based platforms today offer a way to deliver the benefits of Open Data – transparency, civic engagement, greater efficiency, innovation and growth – that is comprehensive and scalable, yet simple and affordable. That’s why small and midsize cities fared so well recently in the Open Data Census published by Code for America, Sunlight Foundation and the Open Knowledge Foundation.
Don’t believe the myths. Open Data today is for everyone.
According to the Urban Dictionary, “cool” is “the best way to say something is neat-o, awesome, or swell.”
According to the analysts at Gartner, “cool vendors” are up-and-coming companies with technology that is:
– Innovative – It enables users to do things they couldn’t do before.
– Impactful – It has or will have a business impact; it’s not just ‘technology for the sake of technology.’
– Intriguing – It has caught Gartner’s interest or curiosity during the past six months or so. Continue reading
For data geeks across America, this weekend is like the Fourth of July, Christmas and New Year’s all rolled into one: Saturday and Sunday is the second annual National Day of Civic Hacking. And although you won’t find it on your holiday calendar (maybe in the future?) and there will be no fireworks, National Day of Civic Hacking is important to anyone who cares about Open Data and about improving government with collaborative innovation. Continue reading