A basic understanding of the principles and culture of open data are often the most critical elements needed to catalyze broad data release by a government, but having a vision for how that data can be part of a global ecosystem of applications and analysis is also important to help sustain and guide an open data initiative into the future. This long term vision is particularly important to graduate to higher classes of data release: from PDFs and HTML to raw data and then on to standardized APIs and linked data. The reality is that sometimes the value of open data isn't even realized until it's made available in standardized machine readable formats. This talk will examine a few case studies including Open311, the General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS), and DemocracyMap to demonstrate how information that was already publicly available can help bring transformative change when made available in standardized formats by governments around the world. Ultimately, we can begin to sketch out a civic network that connects us to common datasets across borders in a decentralized way just like the web itself.
Philip Ashlock | CivicAgency.org | BC Open Data Summit 2013
The Civic Network
(General Transit Feed Speciﬁcation)
An open communication standard for
public services & local government
Boston NYC Portland Pisburgh
Reinventing the Wheel
Should everyone have a custom app? Or just diﬀerent branding?
• Governments can’t easily manage these diﬀerent apps
and communication channels.
• People don’t always have clear expectations set for
whether government can respond or act.
• Many apps aren’t actually connected to the oﬃcial
• Most apps aren’t compatible with one another and
everyone has a diﬀerent app.
Problems with proliferation
platforms of collaboration
Beneﬁts of an open standard
PC / Web
• Governments can beer manage how apps connect and
how they are used.
• Governments can provide automated responses and set
more accurate expectations for addressing the issue.
• Many diﬀerent apps and communication channels can
simultaneously connect to the oﬃcial CRM.
• With many apps and services working interoperably using
the same API, people and government have more choice.
Beneﬁts of a web API
Established March 2011
San Francisco New York City
See Map of
~ 35 city endpoints
~ 10 vendor supported products
~ 5 open source servers
~ 7 open source clients
~ 6 client libraries
For details see:
Open311 GeoReport v2 Stats
Innovation from the
Open311 on uReport CRM from Bloomington
GeoReport v2 Service Requests
Inquiry v0.1 FAQ Knowledgebase
✓ Ideation: Answers/suggestions
GeoWeb DNS / LoST
[email protected] / @civicagency
Philip Ashlock / @philipashlock
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