2012 is shaping up to be the “Year of the Civic Startup.”

Following up on my previous post for the City of Philadelphia, this post describes what happened on the open government and open data fronts in the City of Baltimore in 2011.

The time of year-end reviews and top 10 lists is now upon us, so I’m compiling the details of a watershed year for open data and civic hacking in two cities where I’ve seen huge leaps made in 2011 – Philadelphia and Baltimore.

Several months ago, with the unveiling of the OpenDataPhilly website, the City of Philadelphia joined the growing fraternity of cities across the country and around the world to release municipal data sets in open, developer friendly formats.

The civic hackathon – a gathering (either virtual or physical) of technologists for a few days or weeks to build civic-themed software – remains one of the more durable manifestations of the open government movement.

A couple of months ago, I wrote about the state of the open data program in the city of Baltimore.

A lot of my open gov energy of late has been focused on replicating a technique pioneered by Max Ogden (creator of PDXAPI) to convert geographic information in shapefile format into an easy to use format for developers.

One of the more striking ironies of the Gov 2.0 movement is that despite the development of scores of new technologies, protocols, platforms and networks for enabling sophisticated interactions between citizens and their governments, a large number of people prefer to interact with their government the way they have for a long time – using the telephone.

This is an awesome short film from StreetFilms.org that convincingly lays out the case for open transit data. Later this year, the State of Delaware will – for the first time ever – release all of its transit data in open formats. This is the result of a bill introduced this past legislative session by State Senator Bethany Hall-Long.

There has been some pretty good discussion lately going around the Interwebs about what Gov 2.0 and open government looks like. I can’t say that I agree with everything that has been thrown out there with a Gov 2.0 label on it, but I can say without equivocation that this is the opposite of OpenGov and Gov 2.0.