Top Mobile Apps for Local Governance and Planners

A recent survey of planners by Planetizen looked at mobile app that enhance public participation in local governance and planning to improve efficiency and data collection for planners. A number of fine productivity tools were mentioned in the findings, many of them can possibly be useful to some of you I’m sure! From the results…  common apps mentioned include such apps as Todoist, Constant Contact, Mediafire, GoogleMapsDropboxArcGISGoToMeeting, and SlideShark, among others. Planners report regularly using Trulia and Zillow, which are helpful in finding information about properties.

social cyclist

Social Cyclist app for improving your community

[Read more…]

Report Shows Rapid and Widespread Adoption of Open Data By Governments #opengov

Socrata ( has announced the launch of the Socrata 2014 Open Data Benchmark Reportdesigned to measure and report public-sector use of open data in the United States.  The report reveals that an increasing number of public-sector organizations have embraced open data as a way to boost visibility into government decision-making and performance.

“This benchmark study clearly and dramatically confirms what we’ve been seeing during the past few years – open data adoption and usage is exploding in governments all over the world,” says Kevin Merritt, Founder and CEO of Socrata. “Open data has gone mainstream. It’s a viral movement that’s now unstoppable. And, as the lifeblood of connected global networks, it’s improving the lives of people on just about every continent.”

Source: Socrata

Socrata’s New 2014 Benchmark Report

Esri Connecting Citizens and business With Open Data

Recall it was in February (seems ages ago!) when Esri’s Andrew Turner (@ajturner) lifted the lid off the Esri Open Data initiative,  and effort to help Governments meet their mandate to be more transparent and serve the public with more open data – enter ArcGIS Open Data. I’m a huge fan of such efforts, mainly as they support Governent’s true mandate of serving the public and acting as the platform for innovation!

See more in this blog post from Esri

For all the deets direct from Esri see this resource devoted to ArcGIS Open data

Esri Story Map Shows Regions Most Impacted by Government Shutdown

Another fine, interactive story map from Esri…  Esri’s interactive Federal Government Shutdown map is available for the media to embed or share as part of ongoing government, economic, and political coverage. This map uses data from to show the 10 areas in the US that have the highest percentage of local wages going to federal workers. You can also explore demographic data from Esri that compares median household income and unemployment in these areas to the national average to better understand the local impacts of the federal government shutdown. [Read more…]

Government Shutdown Effect – Data.Gov is Closed, Sorry, Please Come Again!

Indeed the Federal Government shutdown in the US has affected many web sites and web services. Seems that all of the “non-essential” sites have been pretty much turned off with splash screens replaced to greet visitors… essentially meaning that not only are any sites updated (although most do have feeds from real-time sensors and the like) but the existing legacy data and information that was available (think and is also gone – obviously the reason being that there are no support workers or IT folks around to keep the sites humming along… Yes indeed, this also means that there are no data available to you from either! Oh, and the Whitehouse is also affected and as a result is no longer being updated

Note, if you are looking for the rare sites that are operational try and the NHCC (although the main NOAA page is closed) is closed - please come again!

The Complete List of What’s Affected by the US Government Shutdown #Furlough

There’s no doubt that many companies and many people that you know personally have been affected by the US Government shutdown.  Indeed there’s also many GeoTech professionals and those charged with managing Federal assets and lands with GIS and supporting technologies that are currently out of work.

US Government ShutdownBelow, find an overview of some of the government services and operations that will be impacted until Congress passes a budget to fund them again. For detailed information about specific activities at Federal agencies, please see federal government contingency plans.

  • Vital services that ensure seniors and young children have access to healthy food and meals may not have sufficient Federal funds to serve all beneficiaries in an extended lapse.
    [Read more…]

The 2012 Census of more than 89,000 US Local Governments

How big is government? Well, this survey of local agencies in the US may clarify that for you. The US Census Bureau has just released the data and findings from the 2012 Census of US Governments. The Individual State Descriptions provide the foundation of how government entities are identified and classified for the U.S. Census Bureau statistics on governments. Conducted every five years, the census of governments provides the only uniform source of statistics for all of the nation’s state and local governments.

US census of local government

[Read more…]

Alberta Open Data Portal #OpenGov Opens Data to the masses

A fine mainstream media report on a new OpenData resource from Alberta, Canada has surfaced on the CTV (Alberta) web portal. What I like really like about this report is that it is quite accurate and truthful, getting right to the point and describing exactly why opendata is important to users and the business community. The report interviews a local consultant who describes several projects he’s accomplished thanks to the use of new opendata products. Users have already created a couple of apps (nice to see the featured product is a map) and there’s no doubt that many apps and products will follow.

A Government rep admits the data will be difficult to interpret for the average user and that there are about 250 datasets currently available. They do point out that within a year the amount of data available should swell to over 1,000 products. The government focus is to make information public so that developers and the public can innovate and create value from the data after all, that’s really what opendata is meant for!

Read more and see the video on the CTV news website and check out the new Alberta Open Data portal at