DataSF

San Francisco publishes year two plan, continues to lead on open data

San Francisco City Hall

San Francisco’s DataSF team continues to quietly and effectively demonstrate what an efficient, holistic and personable approach to open data looks like with the announcement of its year two plan and retrospective of the past year.

SF Chief Data Officer Joy Bonaguro and Open Data Program Manager Jason Lally are a dynamic duo building the blueprint for government open data offices and initiatives. According to the city, DataSF has 264 published datasets and 740 inventoried datasets, but the number isn’t as important as the approach they’ve taken since Bonaguro was appointed a little over a year ago.

Key to their success is having a long-game plan, building internal community, education and awareness and bringing a sense of aesthetic and uniformity to SF’s open data initiative.

Also, I love the “love” messaging throughout the collateral (“Written with LOVE in San Francisco.”, “Made with <3 in San Francisco”), as it humanizes the efforts more, making data less about the technical and more about the people.

Key links for those who should be watching:

SF reboots open data efforts

Port of San Francisco (Photo: Luke Fretwell)

Port of San Francisco (Photo: Luke Fretwell)

It took a while for San Francisco to get a serious open data effort off the ground, but now that new chief data officer Joy Bonaguro has had some time to take lay of the land, she’s ready to roll.

“I’ve been spending a lot of time getting to know people working both inside and outside of the City (or in partnership),” writes Bonaguro in her first blog post as CDO. “Along the way, I’ve been learning a lot about our challenges with data use and access, but I’ve also learned a great deal about some amazing work.”

Bonaguro will soon publish the city’s three-year strategic plan, but you can get a preview from her recent presentation to the city’s Committee on Information Technology.

Part of the next phase of SF open data includes a much-needed overhaul of the city’s data platform, DataSF, the heavy bureaucratic lift of consensus-building and collaboration and working with the local civic hacker community to re-purpose the data in creative ways.

For those who want to give feedback on the current platform, there’s a survey for that.

I recently had the opportunity to meet and talk with Bonaguro, and it’s refreshing to see someone with so much energy working in this role who is genuinely focused on a long-term commitment to the job, building a sustainable internal data movement and collaborating closely with key stakeholders.

Her user design/experience background will also redefine and expand a role that has traditionally been limited to more of developer mindset. Given that the former is accustomed to collaborating on mutually-agreed solutions, this should play well in building consensus and expediting the city’s next phase in open data.

Follow DataSF updates on Twitter at @DataSF and at the new blog, DataSF Speaks.

SF Routesy founder on open data, advice to developers and government

Routesy is a public transit iPhone app built on DataSF open data that includes real-time schedule information for San Francisco Muni, BART, Caltrain and AC Transit. GovFreshTV talked with founder and developer Steven Peterson about his experiences creating the app and asked him to share his advice to civic developers and government.

Full interview:

Advice to government:

“Government really should be working with developers to figure out what formats they can provide data in in order for developers to create the best products possible. They should also continue to just be open and publish as much data as possible, because that’s really where the innovation and technology around that data is going to come from.”

Advice to developers:

“Take advantage of the large amount of data that’s actually available from the city and other public sources. There are a lot of great things that haven’t been built yet and really a lot of opportunities to take that public domain stuff and make it into something really useful. I would also advise developers to actively talk to people in government and to let them know what data they want available that’s not available and to make sure everything’s working the way it’s supposed to and to have a good relationship with those public officials.”

Download Routesy on iTunes or connect on Facebook and Twitter.

Routesy founder talks open data, gives advice to civic developers and government

Routesy is a public transit iPhone app built on DataSF open data that includes real-time schedule information for San Francisco Muni, BART, Caltrain and AC Transit. GovFreshTV talked with founder and developer Steven Peterson about his experiences creating the app and asked him to share his advice to civic developers and government.

Peterson answers the following questions:

  • What is Routesy?
  • What challenges did you face developing Routesy?
  • What advice do you have for civic developers?
  • What open data advice do you have for government?

Full interview:

Advice to developers:

“Take advantage of the large amount of data that’s actually available from the city and other public sources. There are a lot of great things that haven’t been built yet and really a lot of opportunities to take that public domain stuff and make it into something really useful. I would also advise developers to actively talk to people in government and to let them know what data they want available that’s not available and to make sure everything’s working the way it’s supposed to and to have a good relationship with those public officials.”

Advice to government:

“Government really should be working with developers to figure out what formats they can provide data in in order for developers to create the best products possible. They should also continue to just be open and publish as much data as possible, because that’s really where the innovation and technology around that data is going to come from.”

Download Routesy on iTunes or connect on Facebook and Twitter.

Gov 2.0 guide to San Francisco

San Francisco is one of a few major U.S. cities leading the way in the open government, Gov 2.0 movement. SF has opened up data, issued an agency-wide open government directive and continues to pursue innovative opportunities around this effort. (See all SF news at sf.govfresh.com)

Here’s an overview:

San Francisco’s Open Data Executive Directive

On October 21, 2009, Mayor Gavin Newsom issued SF’s Open Data Executive Directive that states:

The City and County of San Francisco will be able to engage our innovative high-tech workforce by releasing data, a key component of San Francisco’s future economic development. By providing government data that adheres to privacy and security policies, San Francisco’s world class technology community is given the platform from which to create useful civic tools, all at no cost to City government. By bringing City data and San Francisco’s entrepreneurs together, we can effectively leverage existing resources to stimulate industry, create jobs and highlight San Francisco’s creative culture and attractiveness as a place to live and work. Finally, the City and County of San Francisco’s technology presence will begin to reflect that of our world class, cutting edge private technology sector, and help us better engage the wealth of knowledge and skills of our local community.

(See also San Francisco’s open data directive and SF mayor Newsom addresses open government plan to department heads)

Newsom and others discuss launch of DataSF and the city’s open government initiative with city department heads:

DataSF

DataSF.org is SF’s open data site that provides “structured, raw and machine-readable government data to the public in an easily downloadable format.” Dataset categories include geography, admin & finance, environment, housing, human services, public safety, public works and transit.

(See also San Francisco’s DataSF launch)

Press conference announcing DataSF launch:

DataSF App Showcase

DataSF App Showcase highlights Web and mobile applications developed using the SF’s open data.

(See also San Francisco’s app showcase highlights civic innovation)

SF311

SF311 is SF’s citizen service call center that includes Twitter (@SF311).

Video from SFGTV:

SF on GovFreshTV

Francisco’s CIO Chris Vein answers the question ‘What does Gov 2.0 mean to you?’

SF Director of Innovation Jay Nath:

Related coverage

Gov 2.0 Radio:

[audio:gov20radio090719.mp3]

The Promise of Open Data: We talk with City of San Francisco CTO Blair Adams, SF innovations manager Jay Nath, and Web developer Tom Croucher about the open access to government data.

InformationWeek:

San Francisco’s app showcase highlights civic innovation

San Francisco residents can take full advantage of the city’s open data via Web and mobile applications featured at DataSF App Showcase. Apps offer crime updates, recycling locations, restaurant health inspection scores, BART/MUNI schedules and more. Developers can also submit apps for submission.

According to the site, DataSF App Showcase “celebrates the innovators and innovations who are championing the Mayor’s vision of a more collaborative and open government.”

Recommendations to SF and other cities who want to do the same:

  • Create an RSS feed for new apps.
  • Allow filter by category or Web/mobile.