Routesy

San Francisco makes open data city policy

SF Mayor Ed Lee introduced open data legislation on October 15 that would create a chief data officer and promote the use of open data in city government. (Photo: City of San Francisco)

SF Mayor Ed Lee introduced open data legislation on October 15 that would create a chief data officer and promote the use of open data in city government. (Photo: City of San Francisco)

Today, open data and its power to transform a city and a nation by engaging tech savvy citizens will be on display at San Francisco City Hall. And just as importantly, companies that have been successful because of forward thinking open data policies will testify to our elected leaders about its importance. As a founder of one of these sustainable companies, Appallicious, I am proud to be speaking on behalf of the open data movement.

After hearing testimony from myself and others in the open data industry, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors will review and vote on new legislation that will strengthen the city’s open data initiatives and allow San Francisco to appoint a Chief Data Officer (CDO) to manage the City’s open data efforts.

More than three years ago the City of San Francisco launched DataSF.org, the city’s one-stop shop for government data. San Francisco was the first city to follow the federal government’s open government effort, Data.gov when it launched DataSF.org. Since then, more than 70 apps have been developed for city residents by civic innovators and companies– countless other cities and towns have been inspired to follow San Francisco’s lead and have enacted similar policies, providing residents with greater accessibility to government data.

San Francisco’s open data efforts have helped spur the creation of apps for citizens that makes it easier for residents to receive government services, actively participate in city policy and have saved the city a substantial amount of money. Behind these open data apps are new, civically minded companies, and a new industry that is starting to emerge in the land of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.  Companies like Appallicious100PlusRoutesy, and Zonability, that would not have been possible just a couple years ago are popping up in cities all over the country supported by amazing organizations like Code For America.

Back in October 2012, I was proud to join San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, Supervisor David Chiu and San Francisco Rec & Park GM Phil Ginsburg as they introduced the revised open data legislation. These Gov 2.0 leaders used the event to highlight companies like Appallicious that are using open data to create apps and re-imagine our city. They launched the San Francisco Rec & Park app that Appallicious created using over 1,000 datasets for parks, playgrounds, and dog parks, along with transportation datasets so residents can get directions to all of the City’s attractions. All of these datasets are available on DataSF.org.

The SF Rec & Park app makes it easy for anybody to find city parks, playgrounds, museums, picnic tables, gardens, restrooms, news and events and more in the palm of your hand. Information is displayed with descriptions and pictures on a GPS enabled mobile map.

The SF Rec & Park app, which was recently named by Mashable as one of 7 open data apps every city should have, also will soon make it easier for residents to make reservations for a soccer field or picnic table, or apply for a permit when they need to host an event in a public park. All of this will be available through a mobile device or on the web, saving taxpayers and government workers time and money. No longer will you have to wait on hold or send multiple emails to confirm a picnic table reservation for a birthday party.

Open data apps like this are only the beginning of something much bigger that is being made possible by open data policies and government leaders that get its importance.

On his first day as President, Obama signed the memorandum on Transparency and Open Government to spur innovation at the Federal level for private sector development. This move inspired progressive cities like San Francisco, Chicago, New York and Philadelphia to create their own open data legislation at the local level.  This has led to an emergent new industry, unparalleled innovation, job creation, revenue, and collaboration between government and the private sector not seen since President Reagan’s decision to open up the Global Positioning System in the 1980s.

Organizations like Code for America and Citizenville, as well as private companies like Appallicious and the SF Rec & Park app are living, breathing examples of the new industry first created by President Reagan in the 1980s and rejuvenated by President Obama.

Stay tuned, a whole new industry is starting to take form powered by open data on a local level, creating jobs, revenue, and never before seen citizen and government.

If your city is new to the open data movement, please ask your elected leaders to take the Citizenville Challenge and bring open data policies and innovation to your community. And take a second to support the open data movement by applauding Appallicious’ submission to the Knight Foundation News Challenge and others that are transforming the way government and citizens engage and communicate.

Corrections: “Open Government Act” was changed to “memorandum on Transparency and Open Government.” Reference to “Open GPS” was changed to “Global Positioning System.”

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.

Fresh wrap: sf.govfresh

San Francisco CIO Chris Vein speaks at sf.govfresh, Sept. 1, 2010

Public servants, developers and entrepreneurs gathered together to discuss and learn about the civic value of open data and how the City of San Francisco and private citizens are leveraging this opportunity at sf.govfresh, Sept. 1, at Adobe Systems’ San Francisco offices. Speakers included San Francisco Chief Information Officer Chris Vein, Mom Maps Founder & CEO Jill Seman, San Francisco Department of Technology Director of Innovation Jay Nath, Stamen Partner Michal Migurski, Routesy Founder Steven Peterson and SF Environment Internet Communications Coordinator Lawrence Grodeska.

Watch the entire playback here. Presentation videos are also posted below.

Be sure to read Adriel Hampton’s review at OpenSF or see the #sfgf hashtag for the Twitter discussion around the event.

Special thanks to Adobe for hosting and sponsoring the event. This was GovFresh’s first event, and we couldn’t have asked for a better partner and supporter. I firmly believe fostering true community through events such as sf.govfresh is where industry needs to invest more of its outreach budget.

Video presentations

Chris Vein, CIO, San Francisco (Part 1):

Chris Vein, CIO, San Francisco (Part 2):

Jay Nath, Director of Innovation, San Francisco:

Steven Peterson, Routesy:

Lawrence Grodeska, SF Environment:

Michal Migurski, Stamen Design + Crimespotting:

Jill Seman, Mom Maps (Part 1):

Jill Seman, Mom Maps (Part 2):

Open Q&A with Chris Vein, CIO, San Francisco:

Presentations

Here’s a few of the presentations slides.

Open311 API‘ (Jay Nath, Director of Innovation, San Francisco):

EcoFinder Open Data, Open Source, Open Collaboration (Lawrence Grodeska, SF Environment):