Friending The Statehouse


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How the Open Data Movement and Social Media are Changing Citizen Communication With Government.

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Friending The Statehouse

  1. 1. <agency name> Presentation Friending the Statehouse How the Open Data Movement and Social Media are Changing Citizen Communication With Government Mark J. Headd @mheadd /
  2. 2. Who am I? • Maxwell Grad – MPA, 1994. • 12 years in state government – NY & DE. • Executive and Legislative branch experience. • IT Policy advisor and IT agency manager. • Past 7 years – private sector. • Software developer with focus on phone / mobile technology. • Open government enthusiast / speaker. • Open source contributor. • Blogger (
  3. 3. Agenda • Show me the Data! • eGov vs. Gov 2.0 • What’s different? • The Rise of Social Media • Towards a Government Platform – defining APIs. • APIs in the wild. • Open311: What is it, Why is it Important? • Location, Location, Location! • Getting Started with Open Data. • Conclusions. What Comes Next?
  4. 4. Show me the Data! • Governments across the country and around the world are publishing open data sets. • National governments in the US, UK, Australia and New Zealand. • Local governments from Seattle and San Francisco, to New York City and Washington DC. • Open government data is one drive of “Gov 2.0.”
  5. 5. What is Gov 2.0? • Rebranding of eGov, begun more than a decade before. • Take off of Web 2.0 • Real differences between eGov and Gov 2.0. eGov: • Government centric (portal). • Blur the lines between agencies, branches of government. • Push to put government services online. Gov 2.0: • Citizen centric (developer centric). • Enhance the transparency of government operations. • Push to put government data online in “raw” formats.
  6. 6. What’s Different? • The idea of releasing government data to outsider users is not new. • The Open Data movement that is part of Gov 2.0 is different from past actions to release government data in at least 3 ways: – Publishing open data is becoming a measure of government transparency and performance. – Published data is in formats specifically designed to be consumed by downstream apps and developers. – Governments are actively engaging citizens and developers to consume open data. Developer Contests = Cha Ching!
  7. 7. OMG, #OpenGov is BFD! • Fundamental change in how we communicate with each other. • More channels in use. • Uptake of “non-traditional” channels. • Twitter and Facebook share a unique role in this change. • They are both a “channel” that is used for communication, information gathering. • They are also “platforms,” that let people build on their foundations. • Democratization of Data + Democratization of App Development.
  8. 8. Where is Gov 2.0? October 23, 2010 Open Government Data Social Networking Platforms Enhanced Developer Tools Gov 2.0
  9. 9. Towards a Government Platform • What is an API? • Application Programming Interface. • A set of rules that govern how developers can use a platform or service. • Typically built on underlying web technologies. • Documented list of “functions” that can be invoked in the service. • What are the requirements to invoke a function? • Guarantee of a response from the service. – Success! I get what I asked for (list of all tweets within 1 mile of Maxwell Hall, Syracuse NY). – Failure. I won’t get what I asked for, with an details of failure. • The format of the response will be fixed and consistent. • A contract.
  10. 10. APIs in the Wild • Trailblazing governments are moving beyond static data sets. • City of Seattle uses a open source API that sits in front of it’s data, allowing developers to programmatically query multiple data sets. • MassDOT and BART publish real time transit information feeds. • NY State Senate has deployed an API for searching their Legislative Information System. • San Francisco and Washington DC have deployed APIs for their 311 systems. • Moving from static data to real-time feeds and transaction-based APIs. • From individual efforts to standard implementations.
  11. 11. 311 and Open311 • Abbreviated dialing designation set up for use by municipal governments in both the U.S. and Canada. • Non-emergency requests and questions. • “Burning building? Call 911. Burning question? Call 311.” • First: Baltimore (1996). Biggest: NYC (just passed 100 million calls). • Pew Charitable Trust report on Philly 311. • Most 311 operations include a web component with lists of FAQs and information frequently requested by callers. • Several 311 operations (including NYC and San Francisco) have worked to incorporate Twitter and other social media tools into their services. • San Francisco and Washington DC have deployed 311 APIs. • Open311 Initiative. Effort to standardize 311 APIs across governments. • Applications built for one municipality will work in others that support the standard.
  12. 12. Location, Location, Location! • Why are Twitter and Facebook important in the context of 311? • Both services allow users to add location information to content like pictures. • Both also allow developers to query location-based data. • Provides opportunities to allow citizens to report information to government. • How much gov information location-based? October 23, 2010
  13. 13. TweetMy311 • TweetMy311 – “Better cities, one tweet at a time…” • Allows citizens to create a non- emergency service request using Twitter. • Citizens can create new requests, and query the status of existing requests. • Uses the Open311 API currently live in San Francisco. • Will be enable in DC in next several weeks.
  14. 14. Getting Started with Open Data • Where can governments begin with open data? • What are people asking for? • Look at customer engagements (phone / e-mail / web) for opportunities to release open data. • Is there anything available already? • Look at high value / high impact data. – Crime location data – Other types of location data (polling places, libraries, health facilities). – Transit data (Delaware General Assembly: SB 242) – Restaurant inspection data – Licensure data • Compact data lends itself most easily to multiple channels. • Make a plan. Set a goal. Publish the goal. Measure progress.
  15. 15. What’s Next? • More data! And more apps! • Geekery as citizenship. Code for America (USA), Rewired State (UK). • Less app building by governments – dramatic changes to existing procurement processes. • Governments become data stewards / data providers. • Uneven distribution of connectivity (both traditional and mobile) will continue as an issue governments must address. • Citizen communication with government may first require a trip to the app store. San Francisco App Showcase, DC App Store. • More multitenant applications, and apps shared between different governments. SeeClickFix. • Mobile devices and cell phones become the primary instruments for communicating with government.
  16. 16. La Fin Questions?