Open Data and the Digital Divide

I had the pleasure recently of taking part in a series on WHYY’s Radio Times focusing on Philadelphia Innovators.

I got a chance to talk about what the City of Philadelphia is doing to release more open data to technologist, entrepreneurs and researchers in an effort to spur innovation.

Host Maiken Scott led a great discussion that also included Maria Walker from the Freedom Rings Partnership, and Juliana Reyes from Technically Philly.

Philly Tech Week Hackathon Recap

On Saturday, April 28th, the 2nd Philly Tech Week came to a close.

Like the inaugural Philly Tech Week last year, this weeklong series of technology events and panels concluded with a hackathon focused on open government data and journalism.

This way to the hackathon

I gave a brief preview of this event over on the Code for America blog, and shared some observations on how I thought this event was pushing the boundaries of what the “traditional” notion of a hackathon is:

This event – which took place in conjunction with BarCamp News Innovation – was a mashup of journalism unconference and open data hackathon. More clearly than most events, this one underscored the important relationships between civic hackers and journalists, and the common interest they both have in open government data.

In my mind, this event also highlights the maturity of the open data and civic hacking cultures in Philadelphia – the only city to date to partner with Code for America for two years in a row.

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Phones: The Key to the City

The ordinary telephone is among the most important and ubiquitous technologies in the world.

Several weeks ago, I had the pleasure of speaking at inciteXchange – an annual conference organized by the Center for Design and Innovation at Temple University’s Fox School of Business. The focus of the event was to bring together speakers on a diverse range of topics to present short talks aimed at inciting collaboration and innovation.

I gave a talk at this event entitled “Phone City,” which underscored the importance of telephones and mobile devices to our everyday lives, and – I believe – to the future of our cities.

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“Phind It For Me” Live in Philly

Really excited to launch a new OpenGov project in Philadelphia – Phind It For Me.

The service is built on PHLAPI and the point data sets it houses. As such, one could understand why I’d be interested in enhancing the data sets currently in PHLAPI.

I’m really excited about this project – source code available on GitHub – and would love to see if there is an interest in launching in other cities with CouchDB-based geospatial data repositories, like Baltimore.

It’s built on the awesome new SMSified platform from Voxeo (disclaimer, I work there) and uses a Node.js module I built for working with the SMSified API.

As always, dear readers, any comments or feedback is welcomed.

Do head on over to the project website and check it out!