Tag Archives: vancouver

Open Data Day – a project I'd like to be doing

As some readers and International Open Data Hackathon participants know, I’m really keen on developers reusing each others code. All too often, in hackathons, we like to build something from scratch (which can be fun) but I’ve always liked the idea of hackathons either spurring genuine projects that others can reuse, or using a hackathon as an excuse to find a project they’d like support and contribute to.

That’s why I’ve been really encouraging people to find open source projects out there that they’d find interesting and that will support others efforts. This is a big reason I’ve been thinking about MapIt and the Open Knowledge Foundation’s Where does my Money Go project.

In Vancouver, one project I’m eventually hoping we can contribute to is Adopt-a-Hydrant. A project out of Code for America, the great thing about Adopt-a-Hydrant is that it can be adapted to become an adopt an anything app. It’s the end goal of a project I’m hoping to plan out and start on during the Hackathon.

Here in Vancouver, I’ve been talking with the Parks Board around getting a database of all the cities trees opened up. Interestingly this dataset does not include location data (Lat/Long) for each tree… So what would initially be great is to build a mobile phone app that will show you a list of trees near the address the user is currently at, and then allow the user to use their phone’s GPS to add the lat/long data to the database. That way we can help augment the city’s database. Once you begin to add lat long data then you could map trees in Adopt-a-Hydrant and create an Adopt-a-Tree app. Citizens could then sign up to adopt a tree, offer to take care of it, maybe notify the parks board if something is wrong.

I consider this a fairly ambitious project, but it could end up engaging a number of stakeholders – students, arborists, retirees, and others – that don’t normally engage in open data.

I know that the crew organizing a hackathon in Hamilton, Ontario are also looking to create an instance of Adopt-a-Hydrant, which is awesome. We need to both track what worked and what didn’t work so that the kinks in Adopt-a-hydrant can be worked out. More users and developers like us will help refine it further.

If you are planning a hackathon for the Dec 3rd International Open Data Hackathon, please be sure to update the wiki, join the mailing list, and if you have a project your are planning on working on, please email the list, or me directly, I’d love to blog about it!

 

 

Using Open Data to drive good policy outcomes – Vancouver’s Rental Database

One of the best signs for open data is when governments are starting to grasp its potential to achieve policy objectives. Rather than just being about compliance, it is seen as a tool that can support the growth and management of a jurisdiction.

This why I was excited to see Vision Vancouver (in which I’m involved in generally, but was not involved in the development of this policy proposal) announced the other day that, if elected, it intends to create a comprehensive online registry that will track work orders and property violations in Vancouver apartments, highlighting negligent landlords and giving a new tool to empower renters.

As the press release goes on to state, the database is “Modeled after a successful on-line watchlist created by New York City’s Public Advocate, the database will allow Vancouver residents to search out landlords and identify any building or safety violations issued by the City of Vancouver to specific rental buildings.”

Much like the pieces I’ve written around restaurant inspection and product recall data, this is a great example of a data set, that when shared the right way, can empower citizens to make better choices and foster better behaviour from landlords.

My main hope is that in the implementation of this proposal, the city does the right thing and doesn’t create a searchable database on its own website, but actually creates an API that software developers and others can tap into. If they do this, someone may develop a mobile app for renters that would show you the repair record of the building you are standing in front of, or in. This could be very helpful for renters, one could even imagine an app where you SMS the postal code of a rental building and it sends you back some basic information. Also exciting to me is the possibility that a university student might look for trends in the data over time, maybe there is an analysis that my yield and insight that could help landlords mitigate against problems, and reduce the number of repairs they have to make (and so help reduce their costs).

But if Vancouver and New York actually structured the data in the same way, it might create an incentive for other cities to do the same. That might entice some of the better known services to use the data to augment their offerings as well. Imagine if PadMapper, in addition to allowing a prospective renter to search for apartments based on rent costs and number of rooms, could also search based on number of infractions?

pad-mapper-rental

That might have a salutary effect on some (but sadly not all) landlords. All an all an exciting step forward from my friends at Vision who brought open data to Canada.

Smarter Ways to Have School Boards Update Parents

Earlier this month the Vancouver School Board (VSB) released an iPhone app that – helpfully – will use push notifications to inform parents about school holidays, parent interviews, and scheduling disruptions such as snow days. The app is okay, it’s a little clunky to use, and a lot of the data – such as professional days – while helpful in an app, would be even more helpful as an iCal feed parents could subscribe to in their calendars.

That said, the VSB deserves credit for having the vision of developing an app. Positively, the VSB app team hopes to add new features, such as letting parents know about after school activities like concerts, plays and sporting events.

This is a great innovation and without a doubt, other school boards will want apps of their own. The problem is, this is very likely to lead to an enormous amount of waste and duplication. The last thing citizens want is for every school board to be spending $15-50K developing iPhone apps.

Which leads to a broader opportunity for the Minister of Education.

Were I the Education Minister, I’d have my technology team recreate the specs of the VSB app and propose an RFP for it but under an open source license and using phonegap so it would work on both iPhone and Android. In addition, I’d ensure it could offer reminders – like we do at recollect.net – so that people could get email or text messages without a smart phone at all.

I would then propose the ministry cover %60 percent of the development and yearly upkeep costs. The other 40% would be covered by the school boards interested in joining the project. Thus, assuming the app had a development cost of $40K and a yearly upkeep of $5K, if only one school board signed up it would have to pay $16K for the app (a pretty good deal) and $2K a year in upkeep. But if 5 school districts signed up, each would only pay $3.2K in development costs and $400 dollars a year in upkeep costs. Better still, the more that sign up, the cheaper it gets for each of them. I’d also propose a governance model in which those who contribute money for develop would have the right to elect a sub-group to oversee the feature roadmap.

Since the code would be open source other provinces, school districts and private schools could also use the app (although not participate in the development roadmap), and any improvements they made to the code base would be shared back to the benefit of BC school districts.

Of course by signing up to the app project school boards would be committing to ensure their schools shared up to date notifications about the relevant information – probably a best practice that they should be doing anyways. This process work is where the real work lies. However, a simple webform (included in the price) would cover much of the technical side of that problem. Better still the Ministry of Education could offer its infrastructure for hosting and managing any data the school boards wish to collect and share, further reducing costs and, equally important, ensuring the data was standardized across the participating school boards.

So why should the Ministry of Education care?

First, creating new ways to update parents about important events – like when report cards are issued so that parents know to ask for them – helps improve education outcomes. That should probably reason enough, but there are other reasons as well.

Second, it would allow the ministry, and the school boards, to collect some new data: professional day dates, average number of snow days, frequency of emergency disruptions, number of parents in a district interested in these types of notifications. Over time, this data could reveal important information about educational outcomes and be helpful.

But the real benefit would be in both cost savings and in enabling less well resourced school districts to benefit from technological innovation wealthier school districts will likely pursue if left to their own devices. Given there are 59 english school districts in BC, if even half of them spent 30K developing their own iPhone apps, then almost $1M dollars would be collectively spent on software development. By spending $24K, the ministry ensures that this $1M dollars instead gets spent on teachers, resources and schools. Equally important, less tech savvy or well equipped school districts would be able to participate and benefit.

Of course, if the City of Vancouver school district was smart, they’d open source their app, approach the Ministry of Education and offer it as the basis of such a venture. Doing that wouldn’t just make them head of the class, it’d be helping everyone get smarter, faster.

Links on Social Media & Politics: Notes from "We Want Your Thoughts #4"

Last night I had a great time taking the stage with Alexandra Samuel in Vancouver for “We Want Your Thoughts” at the Khafka coffee house on Main St. The night’s discussion was focused on Social Media – from chit chat to election winner – what next?” (with a little on the social media driven response to the riots thrown in for good measure).

Both Alex and I promised to post some links from our blogs for attendees so what follows is a list of some thoughts on the subject I hope everyone can find engaging.

On Social Media generally, probably the most popular post on this blog is this piece: Twitter is my Newspaper: explaining twitter to newbies. More broadly thinking about the internet and media, this essay I wrote with Taylor Owen is now a chapter in this university textbook on journalism. Along with this post as a sidebar note (different textbook), which has been one of my most read.

On the riots, I encourage you to read Alexandra Samuel’s post on the subject (After a Loss in Vancouver, Troubling Signals of Citizen Surveillance) and my counter thoughts (Social Media and Rioters) – a blogging debate! You can also hear me talk about the issue on an interview on CBC’s Cross Country Checkup on the issue (around hour 1).

On social media and politics, maybe some of the most notable pieces include a back forth between myself and Michael Valpy who felt that social media was ending our social cohesion and destroying democracy (obviously, this was pre-Middle East Riots and the proroguing Parliament debate). I responded with a post on why his arguments were flawed and that actually the reverse was true. He responded to that post in The Mark. And I posted response to that as well. It all makes for a good read.

Rob-Cottingham-graphic-summary

Rob Cottingham’s Visual Notes of the first 15 minutes

Then there were some pieces on Social Media and the Proroguing of Parliament. I had this piece in the Globe and then this post talking a little more about the media’s confused relationship with social media and politics.

Finally, one of the points I referred to several times yesterday was the problem of assuming social values won’t change when talking about technology adoption and its impact, probably the most explicit post I’ve written on the subject is this one: Why the Internet Will Shape Social Values (and not the other way around)

Finally, some books/articles I mentioned or on topic:

Everything Bad is Good for You by Steven Johnson

What Technology Wants by Kevin Kelly

Here Comes Everybody by Clay Shirky

The Net Delusion: How Not to Liberate the World by Evgeny Morozov

The Inside Story of How Facebook Responded to Tunisian Hacks an article in the Atlantic by Alexis Madrigal

I hope this is interesting.

Social Media and Rioters

My friend Alexandra Samuel penned a piece titled “After a Loss in Vancouver, Troubling Signals of Citizen Surveillance” over at the Harvard Business Review. The piece highlights her concern with the number of people willing to engage in citizen surveillance.

As she states:

It’s one thing to take pictures as part of the process of telling your story, or as part of your (paid or unpaid) work as a citizen journalist. It’s another thing entirely to take and post pictures and videos with the explicit intention of identifying illegal (or potentially illegal) activity. At that moment you are no longer engaging in citizen journalism; you’re engaging in citizen surveillance.

And I don’t think we want to live in a society that turns social media into a form of crowdsourced surveillance. When social media users embrace Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and blogs as channels for curating, identifying and pursuing criminals, that is exactly what they are moving toward.

I encourage you to read the piece, and, I’m not sure I agree with much of it on two levels.

First, I want to steer away from good versus bad and right versus wrong. Social Media isn’t going to create only good outcomes, or only bad outcomes, it is going to create both (something I know Alex acknowledges). This technology will, like previous technologies, reset what normal means. In the new world we are becoming more powerful “sensors” in our society. We can enable others to know what, good and bad, is going on around us. To believe that we won’t share, and that others won’t use our shared information to inform their decisions, is simply not logical. As dBarefoot points out in the comments there are lots of social good that can come for surveillance. In the end you can’t post videos of human right injustices without also being able to post videos of people at abortion clinics, you can’t post videos of officials taking bribes without also being able to post videos of people smoking drugs at a party. The alternative, a society where people are not permitted to share, strikes me as even more dangerous than a society where we can share but where one element of that sharing ends up being used as surveillance. My suspicion is that we may end up regulating some use – there will be some things people cannot share online (visiting abortion clinics may end up being one of those) but I’m not confident of even this.

But I suspect that in a few decades my children will be stunned that I grew up in a world of no mutual surveillance. That we tolerated the risks of a world where mutual surveillance didn’t exist – they may wonder at a basic level, how we felt safe at night or in certain circumstances (I really recommend David Brin’s Science Fiction writing, especially Earth in which he explores this idea). I can also imagine they will find the idea of total anonymity and having an untraceable past to both eerie, frightening and intriguing. In their world, having grown up with social media will be different, some of the things we feel are bad, they will like, and vice versa.

Another issues missing from Alex’s piece is the role of the state. It is one thing for people to post pictures of each other, it is another about how, and if, the state does the same. As many tweeters stated – this isn’t 1994 (the last time there were riots in Vancouver). Social media is going to do is make the enforcement of law a much and the role of the state a much trickier subject. Ultimately, they cannot ignore photos of rioters engaged in illegal acts. So the question isn’t so much on what we are going to share, it is about what we should allow the state to do, and not to do, with the information we create. The state’s monopoly on violence gives it a unique role, one that will need to be managed carefully. This monopoly, combined with a world of perfect (or at least, a lot more) information will I imagine necessitate a state and justice system that that looks very, very different than the one we have right now if we are to protect of civil liberties as we presently understand them. (I suspect I’ll be writing some more about this)

But I think the place where I disagree the most with Alex is in the last paragraph:

What social media is for — or what it can be for, if we use it to its fullest potential — is to create community. And there is nothing that will erode community faster, both online and off, than creating a society of mutual surveillance.

Here, Alex confuses the society she’d like to live in with what social media enables. I see nothing to suggest that mutual surveillance will erode community, indeed, I think it already has demonstrated that it does the opposite. Mutual surveillance fosters lots of communities – from communities that track human rights abuses, to communities that track abortion providers to communities that track disabled parking violators. Surveillance builds communities, it may be that, in many cases, those communities pursue the marginalization of another community or termination of a specific behaviour, but that does not make them any less a part of our society’s fabric. It may not create communities everyone likes, but it can create community. What matters here is not if we can monitor one another, but what ends up happening with the information we generate, and why I think we’ll want to think hard about what we allow the state to do and to permit others to do, more and more carefully.

Lost Open Data Opportunities

Even sometimes my home town of Vancouver gets it wrong.

Reading Chad Skelton’s blog (which I frequently regularly and recommend to my fellow Vancouverites) I was reminded of the great work he did creating an interactive visualization of the city’s parking tickets as part of a series around parking in Vancouver. Indeed, it is worth noting that the entire series was powered by data supplied by the city. Sadly, it just wasn’t (and still isn’t) open data. Quite the opposite, it was data that was wrestled, with enormous difficulty, via an FOI (ATIP) request.

parking-tickets

In the same blog post Chad recounts how he struggled to get the parking data from the city:

Indeed, the last major FOI request I made to the city was for its parking-ticket data. I had to fight the city tooth and nail to get them to cough up the information in the format I wanted it in (for months their FOI coordinator claimed, falsely, that she couldn’t provide the records in spreadsheet format). Then, when the parking ticket series finally ran, I got an email from the head of parking enforcement. He was wondering how he could get reprints of the series — he thought it was so good he wanted to hand it out to new parking enforcement officers during their training.

What is really frustrating about this paragraph is the last sentence. Obviously the people who find the most value in this analysis and tool are the city staff who manage parking infractions. So here is someone who, for free(!), provides an analysis and some stories that they now use to train new officers and he had to fight to get the data. The city would have been poorer without Chad’s story and analysis. And yet it fought him. Worse, an important player in the civic space (and an open data ally) feels frustrated by the city.

There are of course, other uses I could imagine for this data. I could imagine the data embedded into an application (ideally one like Washington DC’s Park IT DC – which let’s you find parking meters on a map, identify if they are available or not, and see local car crime rates for the area) so that you can access the risk of getting a ticket if you choose not to pay. This feels like the worse case scenario for the city, and frankly, it doesn’t feel that bad and would probably not affect people’s behaviour that much. But there may be other important uses of this data – it may correlate in some interestingly and unpredictably against other events – connections that if made and shared, might actually allow the city to leverage its enforcement officers more efficiently and effectively.

Of course, we won’t know what those could be, since the data isn’t shared, but it is the kind of thing Vancouver should be doing, given the existence of its open data portal. But all government’s should take note. There is a cost to not sharing data. Lost opportunities, lost insights and value, lost allies and networks of people interested in contributing to your success. It’s all our loss.

Vancouver International Open Data Hackathon Event Agenda/Invite

Tomorrow is December 4th. The International Open Data Hackathon will be taking place around the world. Here in Vancouver, we’ll be contributing as well.
Here are some details:
Goals/Important points:
  • This is about having fun and working on something that makes you feel good. If, at any point you aren’t feeling that… then start doing something that does or come talk to me. :)
  • Our main goal is to create artifacts that will help strengthen our democracy, be fun to use, or just make life a little better – we want more open data, let’s show the world why it matters.
  • Our other goal is to build community, both here in Vancouver, and around the world, so let’s help one another, both in city, and those elsewhere…
  • Remember, this is not just for programmers. Any project will need a variety of skills.
  • If you don’t think you can do anything helpful, trust me, that is not the case.
Location:
  • W2/Storyeum 151 W. Cordova (map) in Vancouver
  • Phone: 604-689-9896
Schedule:
  • 9:30-10am People can start arriving any time after 9:30am
  • 10:00-10:30am We’ll be starting at 10am. We’ll begin with brief introductions and give those with ideas an opportunity to share them
  • 10:30 Sort into teams. If you haven’t already chosen a project to work on for the day… now is the time.
  • 10:30-12:00pm Hacking. Lots here to do for designers, developers, citizens to get materials organized, write copy or code, etc…
  • 12:00pm Check in. 5 minutes for teams to share progress, challenges, ask for suggestions
  • 12:30-3:30pm More hacking goodness
  • 3:30 project update/presentations

Vancouver Hack Space will be opening its doors after the hackathon for people who want to keep hacking over there. Great people at VHS so it should be good…

What to bring & expect:
  • A laptop.  If you absolutely can’t bring a laptop, please come anyway, there will be things to do.
  • We have a number of ideas that can be worked on. If you have one… great! If you are looking for cool people to work with… you’re coming to the right place.
  • Ideas that no one wants to work on will be removed.
  • We will ask people to vote with their feet, gathering into self forming teams for each project.

Open Data planning session at BarCamp Vancouver

With the International Open Data Hackathon a little more the 2 weeks away a lot has happened.

On the organizing wiki people in over 50 cities in 21 countries and 4 continents have offered to organize local events. Open data sets that people can use have been posted to a specially created page, a few nascent app ideas have been shared, as has advice on how to run a hackathon. (on twitter, the event hashtag is #odhd)

In Vancouver, the local BarCamp will be taking place this weekend. I’m not in town, however, Aaron Gladders, local hacker with a ton of experience working with and opening up data sets, contacted me to let me know he’d like to do a planning session for the hackathon at Barcamp. If you’re in Vancouver I hope you can attend.

Why? Because this is a great opportunity. And it has lessons for the hackathons around the world.

I love it because it means people can share ideas and projects they would like to hack on, recruit others, as well as hear feedback about challenges, obstacles, alternative approaches, and think about all of this  for two weeks before the hackathon. A planning session also has  has an even bigger benefit. It means more people are likely to arrive on the day with something specific ready to work on. I want the hackathons to be social. But they can’t be exclusively so. It is important that we actually try to create some real products that are useful to us and/or our fellow citizens.

For those elsewhere in the world who are also thinking about December 4th I hope that some of us will start reaching out to one another and thinking about how we will spend the day. A few thoughts on this:

1. Take a look at the data sets that are out there before Dec 4th. People have been putting together a pretty good list here.

2. Localization. I think some of the best wins will be around localizing successful apps from other places. For example, I’ve been encouraging the team in Bangalore to consider localizing Michael Mulley’s OpenParliament.ca application (the source code for which is here). If you have an application you think others might want to localize, add it to the application page on the wiki. If there is an app out there you’d like to localize, write its author/developer team. Ask them if they might be willing to share the code.

3. Get together with 2-3 friends and come up with a plan. What do you want to accomplish on the 4th?

4. If you are looking for a project, let people know on the wiki, leave a twitter handle or some way for people with idea to contact you before the 4th.

Okay, that’s it for now. I’m really excited about how much progress we’ve made in a few short weeks. Ideally at the end of the 4th I’d love for some cities to be able to showcase some apps to the world that they’ve created. We have an opportunity to show the media, politicians, public servants, our fellow citizens, but most importantly, each other, just want is possible with open data.


					

Collaborate: "Governments don't do that"

The other day while enjoying breakfast with a consultant friend I heard her talk of about how smaller local governments didn’t have the resources to afford her, or her firms services.

Hogwash I thought! Fresh from the launch of CivicCommons.com at the Gov2.0 Summit I jumped in and asked, surely a couple of the smaller municipalities with similar needs could come together, jointly spec out a project and pool their budgets. It seems like a win-win-win, budgets go further, better services are offered and, well, of less interest but still nice, my friend gets to work on rolling out some nice technologies in the community in which she lives.

The response?

“Government’s doesn’t work that way.”

Followed up by…

“Why would we work with one of those other communities, they are our competitors.”

Once you’ve stopped screaming at your monitor… (yes, I’m happy to give you a few seconds to vent that frustration) let me try to explain in as cool as a manor as possible why this makes no sense. And while I don’t live in the numerous municipalities that border on Vancouver, if you do, consider writing you local councillor/mayor. I think your IT department is wasting your tax dollars.

First, government’s don’t work that way? Really? So an opportunity arises for you to save money and offer better services to your citizens and you’re going to say no because the process offends you in some way? I’m pretty sure there’s a chamber full of council people and a mayor who feel pretty differently about that.

The fact is, that governing a city is going to get more complicated. The expectations of citizens are going to become greater. There is going to be a gap, and no amount of budget is going to cover it. Citizens increasingly have access to top tier services on the web – they know what first class systems look like. They look like Google, Amazon, Travelocity, etc… and vary rarely your municipal website site and the services it offers. It almost doesn’t matter where you are reading this from, I’m willing to bet your city’s site isn’t world class. Thanks to the web however your citizens, even the ones who never leave your bedroom community, are globe traveling super consumers of the web. They are getting faster, better and more effective service on and off the web. You might want to consider this because as the IT director in a city of 500,000 people you probably don’t have the resources to keep up.

Okay, so sharing a budget to be able to build better online infrastructure (or whatever) for your city makes sense. But now you’re thinking – we can’t work with that neighboring community… their our competitors.

Stop. Stop right there.

That community is not your competitor. Let me tell you right now. No one is moving to West Van over Burnaby because their website is better, or their garbage service is more efficient. They certainly aren’t moving because you offer webbased forms on your city’s website and the other guys (annoyingly) make you print out a PDF. That’s not influencing the 250K-500K decision about where I live. Basically, if it doesn’t involve the quality of the school it probably isn’t factoring in.

Hell even other cities like Toronto, Calgary or Seattle aren’t your competitor. If anyone is moving there it’s likely because of family or a job. Maybe if you really got efficient then a marginally lower muncipal tax would help, but if that were the case, then partner with as many cities as possible and benefit from some collaborative economies of scale… cause now you kicking the but of the 99% of cities that aren’t collaborating and sharing costs.

And, of course, this isn’t limited to cities. Pretty much any level of government could benefit from pooling budgets to sponsor some commonly speced out projects.

It’s depressing to see that the biggest challenge to driving down the costs of running a city (or any government) aren’t going to technological, but a cultural obsession with the belief that everybody else is different, competing and not as good as us.

Links from Gov2.0 Summit talk and bonus material

My 5 minute lightening fast jam packed talk (do I do other formats? answer… yes) from yesterday’s Gov2.0 summit hasn’t yet been has just been posted to youtube. I love that this year the videos have the slides integrated into it.

For those who were, and were not, there yesterday, I wanted to share links to all the great sites and organizations I cited during my talk, I also wanted to share one or two quick stories I didn’t have time to dive into:

VanTrash and 311:

Screen-shot-2010-09-09-at-3.07.32-AM-1024x640As one of the more mature apps in Vancouver using open data Vantrash keeps being showing us how these types of innovations just keep giving back in new and interesting ways.

In addition to being used by over 3000 households (despite never being advertised – this is all word of mouth) it turns out that the city staff are also finding a use for vantrash.

I was recently told that 311 call staff use Vantrash to help trouble shoot incoming calls from residents who are having problems with garbage collection. The first thing one needs to do in such a situation is identify which collection zone the caller lives in – turns out VanTrash is the fastest and more effective way to accomplish this. Simply input the caller’s address into the top right hand field and presto – you know their zone and schedule. Much better than trying to find their address on a physical map that you may or may not have near your station.

TaxiCity, Open Data and Game Development

Another interesting spin off of open data. The TaxiCity development team, which recreated downtown Vancouver in 2-D using data from the open data catalog, noted that creating virtual cities in games could be a lot easier with open data. You could simply randomize the height of buildings and presto an instant virtual city would be ready. While the buildings would still need to be skinned one could recreate cities people know quickly or create fake cities that felt realistic as they’d be based on real plans. More importantly, this process could help reduce the time and resources needed to create virtual cities in games – an innovation that may be of interest to those in the video game industry. Of course, given that Vancouver is a hub for video game development, it is exactly these types of innovations the city wishes to foster and will help sustain Vancouver’s competitive advantage.

Links (in order of appearance in my talk)

Code For America shirt design can be seen in all their glory here and can be ordered here. As a fun aside, I literally took that shirt of Tim O’Reilly’s back! I saw it the day before and said, I’d wear that on stage. Tim overheard me and said he’d give me his if I was serious…

Vancouver’s Open Motion (or Open3, as it is internally referred to by staff) can be read in the city’s PDF version or an HTML version from my blog.

Vancouver’s Open Data Portal is here. keep an eye on this page as new data sets and features are added. You can get RSS feed or email updates on the page, as well as see its update history.

Vantrash the garbage reminder service’s website is here. There’s a distinct mobile interface if you are using your phone to browse.

ParkingMobility, an app that crowdsources the location of disabled parking spaces and enables users to take pictures of cars illegally parked in disabled spots to assist in enforcement.

TaxiCity, the Centre for Digital Media Project sponsored by Bing and Microsoft has its project page here. Links to the sourcecode, documentation, and a ton of other content is also available. Really proud of these guys.

Microsoft’s Internal Vancouver Open Data Challenge fostered a number of apps. Most have been opensourced and so you can get access to the code as well. The apps include:

The Graffiti Analysis written by University of British Columbia undergraduate students can be downloaded from this blog post I posted about their project.

BTA Works – the research arm of Bing Thom Architects has a great website here. You can’t download their report about the future of Vancouver yet (it is still being peer-reviewed) but you can read about it in this local newspaper article.

Long Tail of Public Policy – I talk about this idea in some detail in my chapter on O’Reilly Media’s Open Government. There is also a brief blog post and slide from my blog here.

Vancouver’s Open Data License – is here. Edmonton, Ottawa and Toronto use essentially the exact same thing. Lots that could be done on this front still mind you… Indeed, getting all these cities on a single standard license should be a priority.

Vancouver Data Discussion Group is here. You need to sign in to join but it is open to anyone.

Okay, hope those are interesting and helpful.