Open Government Tour 2014 #OGT14 Hits Victoria BC to Stimulate OpenData Dialog #opengov

A topic that is hugely hot these days, particularly with the GeoTech crowd, is Open Data. I spent an evening in the meeting chambers at our local City Hall discussing OpenData with about 2 dozen other geeks with nothing better to do on a Monday night. The event was planned by and run by opendata enthusiast and co-founder of CitizenBridge, Richard Pietro and brought together about 10 very knowledgeable speakers and enthusiasts to share their stories and advice. The tour, which is supported by sponsorship from the Microsoft  backed Open Source project, Make Web not War, is designed to ignite the open government conversation in areas that may not have had the chance to experience the conversation – that may not be the case in Victoria BC but it is always a great idea to re-ignite the discussion.

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FME UC 2014 Video: FME Powers CKAN Open Data Portal

YEs indeed the FME User Conference videos, more than 70 of them, are all online for your viewing pleasure! One of my favorite sessions at the event was delivered by Mark Laudon of the City of Surrey, B.C. Surrey is definitely a leader when it comes to open data and citizen engagement, although they are quite modest about it! Enjoy this talk by Mark as he describes their efforts, discusses open data platforms, and shares some very useful tips! [Read more…]

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

Obama’s Plans for changing U.S. NSA intelligence practices in One Graphic

Loads of buzz today in the news and on social media as a result of the Commander in Chief addressing the nation on the topic of security and privacy.  The speech was delivered against a background set by numerous proposals, including various bills in Congress and the recommendations of the president’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies, on which I served (and most of whose recommendations were endorsed in today’s speech).

Highlights of the speech can be identified in the following Wordle, and according to Bloomberg, there were 7 main topics of interest touched on that deserve special attention.

Topics in President Obama's speech on privacy and security

Topics in President Obama's speech on privacy and security

Brazilian state Open data visualization tool – DataViva

The Brazilian state Minas Gerais has launched a new data visualization tool called DataViva, which is meant to help government officials, the private sector and Brazilian citizens understand big data. Although it is the product of a state government, DataViva covers the formal economy of all of Brazil. According to the a video introduction to DataViva, the tool contains more than 100 million interactive visualizations. (Ironically, a video is touted,however, the youtube video is private and not viewable at this time!)

The visualizations are divided into eight different apps. These include a “Tree Map,” a “Geo Map,” “Network,” “Scatter,” and “Occugrid.” Some of these are as general as they sound, and others have a more specific purpose.

Source: TechPresident

Mashing-up Opendata for a B.C Liquor Outlet Map with CartoDB

All the twitter chatter today from #FOSS4G and the hype surrounding CartoDB got me wanting to mashup some data with the awesome open Geo tools out there so I decided to go look for some data and see what I could come up with. It took me a few minutes by I managed to locate some opendata from the DataBC providing me with locations of beer, wine, and liquor outlets, both public and private within the Province. Using my free CartoDB account I could quickly drop in my data, geocode it (almost) and publish a nice map for simple visualization and sharing.. took me about 5 minutes in total and I haven’t used CartoDB in months! Pretty darned sweet… I guess I better go fix the stragglers in my dataset! Jump directly to the BC liquor store locator map here or see the live map below… [Read more…]

Utah is Not Only Gorgeous But Their #OpenGov State Web Portal is Awesome!

Kudos to the State of Utah on their awesome web portal and for being recognized for excellence in web design and serving the population with an internet gateway that is complete awesome! The State was even recognized recently with a VEMA award for excellence – the VEMA Award recognizes outstanding work of the innovative, artistic, and creative professionals involved in the multimedia arts. See Wins Award for Excellence in Multimedia Arts and Creativity

From the get-go, when hitting the site you know that you’ve hit something special! The front page is informative, reactive, and yet not too over the top. The search functionality is front and center, giving the site a Bing-like look and feel. All the required navigation and info is found along a top ribbon including friendly drop-down navigation options.

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2013 TIGER/Line Shapefiles from US Census Bureau

An update from the Census Bureau on the availability of the 2013 TIGER/Line files as all legal boundaries and names as of January 1, 2013 were released on August 22, 2013.  About the data… The 2013 TIGER/Line Shapefiles contain 2010 Census geography and current geography for the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Island areas . Current geography is defined as the latest version of the geographic extent of legally defined geographic areas as reported, generally reflecting the boundaries of govern mental units in effect as of January 1, 201 3 , or legal and statistical area boundaries that have been adjusted and/or corrected since the 2010 Census. This vintage enables users to see the most current boundaries of governmental units that match the data from the surveys that use 201 3 geography, such as the 201 3 Population Estimates and the American Community Survey. – See more in this announcement and see also the FTP site on the Bureau website HERE


Project OpenData Adds OpenData Implementation Guide

The White House developed Project Open Data (See project OpenData on github) – this collection of code, tools, and case studies – to help agencies adopt the Open Data Policy and unlock the potential of government data. Project Open Data will evolve over time as a community resource to facilitate broader adoption of open data practices in government. Anyone – government employees, contractors, developers, the general public – can view and contribute.

Recently, the project has released a implementation guide, designed to help agencies and orgs manage their information and data as an asset. The document focuses on near-term efforts agencies must take to meet the following five initial requirements of M-13-13, which are due November 1 – see the Implementation Guide