Civic Innovations

Technology, Government Innovation, and Open Data

  • Command Line GeoTwitter

    A few months back I wrote a quick post about tweeting from the command line. With the recent announcement that Twitter’s location feature is starting to go live, I decided to revisit this idea, with an eye toward adding locational information. (I am, at heart, a cheapskate – I could have bought one of the… Continue reading

  • Opening a Dialog on New York State Legislation

    Innovative things on the transparency front continue to emerge from Albany, thanks to the crew working for the NY Senate CIO. The latest – an Open Legislation portal that allows New Yorkers to search for bills by sponsor, status or keyword and to initiate a dialog on bills. Users of the site can comment on… Continue reading

  • Toronto Opens Government Data

    The City of Toronto recently joined a growing fraternity of governments to release public data sets for developers and other interested parties to use to create interesting and useful mashups. It’s gratifying to see more and more cities place an emphasis on releasing open data sets to the public. Toronto’s open data web site is… Continue reading

  • Prowling for NY Senate Bill Status Updates

    Ever since I started working on a multi-modal application for looking up the status of a bill in the New York State Legislature using the fabulous Open Leg API from the NY Senate, I’ve been thinking about ways to enable “subscriptions.” By subscriptions, I mean allowing people to specify which bill (or bills) they are… Continue reading

  • Coming Full Circle on 311

    Tomorrow in New York City, developers, project managers, public policy specialists and others will come together to discuss an open standard specification for 311 services. One of the primary motivators for this discussion is the work that has been done by the District of Columbia which has deployed an open API for reporting 311 requests.… Continue reading

  • Open Gov Data = The New Outsourcing

    It’s been a tough few months for old school government IT outsourcing initiatives. Projects in Virginia, Texas and elsewhere are under increased scrutiny, or just plain in trouble. Over the last year and a 1/2, a handful of forward thinking governments have started to lay the groundwork for a new way of outsourcing IT work… Continue reading

  • Spanish Language Support Enabled for Bill Lookup

    I continue to tinker with my application that allows multi-channel access to the NY Senate Open Leg API. This application allows users to obtain bill information and status through a variety of different user agents. I’ve now added support for Spanish language callers to the telephone interface. I translated all of the prompts using Google’s… Continue reading

  • Open Source Leadership in the First State

    If you visit the State of Delaware’s official web page, you will find that the state is making use of the open source blogging software WordPress. There are (for now) a small collection of WordPress-based blogs set up as subdomains on the state’s official .gov domain. Although there are other state government entities making use… Continue reading

  • Lots of Gov 2.0 Potential in Twitter Geolocation

    So the new Twitter hotness will be the ability to add locational data to individual Tweets – not sure on exactly when this new feature will go live, but it will require someone wishing to add locational data to their tweets to: Explicitly opt in to this feature by changing their Twitter account settings. Utilize… Continue reading

  • Longevity for Open Data and Gov 2.0

    People that work for Gartner are starting to use “hype cycle” and “Gov 2.0” in the same sentence (or rather, sentences that are really really close together). There is also a thoughtful piece on GovLoop examining which aspects of Gov 2.0 are on the right track and the wrong track. I’ve raised similar questions about… Continue reading

About Me

I am the former Chief Data Officer for the City of Philadelphia. I also served as Director of Government Relations at Code for America, and as Director of the State of Delaware’s Government Information Center. For about six years, I served in the General Services Administration’s Technology Transformation Services (TTS), and helped pioneer their work with state and local governments. I also led platform evangelism efforts for TTS’ cloud platform, which supports over 30 critical federal agency systems.