Monday, June 02, 2014

Hack for Change Louisville Recap 2014

Cross posted from the YourMapper blog.
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Louisville's National Day of Civic Hacking event wrapped up this past Saturday May 31.  How did it go?

Success!


The event was a huge success!  The organizers, Louisville's Civic Data Alliance, would like to thank everyone who participated including Greg Fischer (Louisville Metro’s Mayor), Ted Smith (City Innovation Director), and Tim Welsh (Metro CIO).
We had 45+ people sign up and attend.  We were part of over 100 cities, 124 events, and 10,000 participants across the nation.

Civic Data Alliance


The Civic Data Alliance is Louisville’s official Code for America brigade, and the organizing body for this year’s NDoCH.  If you want to join us, discover projects we are working on, and join our monthly meetups, please visit our site and sign up on our forums.

The Projects


We focused on 5 projects to build and ship in just 6 hours, based on data available and interest levels.  Here's a summary of each of them.

1. WFPL Curious City


We deployed the first version of WBEZ's Curious City Project, for WFPL in Louisville.
"What do you wonder about Louisville, the region or its people that you want WFPL to investigate?"


2. NC3 Neighborhood Editor


The Network Center for Community Change needed a way for locals to improve the accuracy of locations and mapping in the neighborhoods their volunteers and community members know.  So we built a neighborhood explorer with links to editing features easily in Open Street Map.

"NC3 believes that community-generated data created by neighborhood residents and advocates is a powerful tool for change. With this data we are making change together, and we need you to join the movement!

NC3 has developed this web site to help introduce people to the geography of West Louisville neighborhoods, while offering an avenue to add and share data on OpenStreetMap. OpenStreetMap is a collaborative project to create a free editable map of the world, and it’s the perfect tool to create data for West Louisville Neighborhoods that can be updated and shared by everyone. So take a look at the neighborhoods on this site and start editing!"






3. NC3 Shareabouts


NC3 also needed a way for locals to share positive locations and memories in their neighborhoods.  So we worked with them to deploy a Shareaboutsplatform.





4. Shelter Helper - Adopt a Pet


Using the city's open data portal and Metro Animal Services pet data, we built a website where you can serach, filter, and browse the available animals to adopt, and then get driving directions texted to your phone to go pick up your sweet little pet.






5. Louisville Minecraft


Our most ambitious project for the day was to recreate Louisville within Minecraft, just like Denmark did!  It was the only project that didn't ship (though we got it working after the event around 6pm because people stayed to help).  But we got a good handle on the process and with the right data we know it can be done!

It did take us 2 hours to download/merge/clip less accurate data from Kentucky's open GIS portal, since that data was not available on the city's open data portal (which would have taken a few minutes instead).

Links we used:







Roadblocks


Our biggest roadblock, which directly affected the success of 3 of the 5 projects, was the lack of open GIS and mapping data from the city of Louisville.  We had to work harder to turn to alternative, less accurate sources, and in some cases pay another company out-of-pocket for data we needed.


More Event Pictures

















Info from 2014 Event Page


HACK FOR CHANGE


Hack for Change Louisville is being held as the city's formal National Day of Civic Hacking event, one of over 119 simultaneous events across the United States. The day will bring together local government leaders and staff, local organizations, businesses, visitors, and community members and is focused on civic innovation. Here's what to expect:
  • Software development (a hackathon event) using open public data.
  • Collaborative building of open data apps and services for non-profits and the community.
  • Discussions on open data at the city, county, and state levels.
  • Networking, learning, fun, and making a difference!
The initiative is a united national effort to connect citizens and government in a partnership focused on improving people’s daily lives through technology. This event will bring together techies, entrepreneurs, do-gooders, activists and others like you from across the nation to collaboratively create, build, and invent tools using publicly-released data.

Civic hacking as a form of citizen engagement and volunteerism is gaining momentum reaching cities across America not those known for technology and innovation. Civic hackers are already active and contributing to the betterment of your community.

THE STORY

Louisville's Code for America brigade has volunteered to organize this year's event.  Called the Civic Data Allliance (CDA), we are the public's voice for open data, interested in liberating, improving, gathering, defining, and reporting on public data.

Hack for Change Louisville has these main goals:
  • Create a one-day environment for entrepreneurs, app developers, and programmers to create innovative apps and websites using open public data.
  • Identify opportunities to brainstorm, capture, design, and even deploy valuable software applications that serve the city.
  • Bring together local government officials, municipal employees, experts, programmers, designers, citizens and journalists to share thoughts on the City of Louisville's open data portal.
  • Foster communities of practice and advocacy on the role of the civic innovation, mobile communication, online information, and open data at the City of Louisville.
  • Discover other datasets that contain public information a the city, county, and state level that should be made public (property, transit, GIS, etc).
  • Create outcomes that participants will act upon after the event is over.

LOCATION

Nucleus
Nucleus is this year's gracious host and location sponsor.  Last year Nucleus hosted the event as well, at their nearby iHub coworking space.
Enter in the parking lot off Floyd St directly across from iHub. Then walk in these doors.
nucleus

The space is great and we'll have a projector, mics, speaker system for music, Wi-fi, fridge, food, power strips and more!
nucleus in1

SCHEDULE

8am - Doors open, mingling, coffee, breakfast, setup
9am - Introductions and overview, project tracks review
9:30 - Break into self-organized groups to work on projects
12 - Lunch on site
1 - Continue working on ideas, finish prototype
4:30 - Present prototypes and successes
5:00 - Next steps, mailing lists/groups, wrap-up
6 - Civic Hacking end, head off to dinner and drinks with your new friends

PROJECT TRACKS

We are pre-planning a number of projects for this year's event, idenifying resources and laying the groundwork in advance.  You can align yourself with one of these projects we hope to ship by the end of the day, or come with your own ideas.
  • Help one of our non-profits (list coming soon) get their data online for the public
  • Create an open data portal on CDA website (or yours) using CKAN, and fill it with community data
  • Use Louisville GIS data to build the city in Minecraft, like Denmark
  • Getting data from Louisville's Air Quality Eggs
  • Editing Open Street Map in your neighborhood
  • Setup Curious City for a local non-profit
  • Deploy Shareabouts crowdsourced mapping application for a non-profit
  • Map trails and points of interest for Bernheim Forest
  • Take raw Olmsted Parks data and visualize new tree plantings in Shelby Park
At this event, we are going to focus on finishing a product in just 7 hours. Just like at Hacktucky, the motto will be "if it doesn't ship, it doesn't exist!" So we'll work together to make a MVP and cut features as needed. Idea, design, data, coding, UI, and hosting all needs to come together, so we need everyone's help!

SWAG!

Big News! Google is providing $500 in Google Cloud Platform hosting for each and every attendee!
Amazon is providing $50 in free AWS credit to all attendees again this year!
And we've got some cool wrist bands, stickers, and a few hoodies to hand out.

WHAT TO BRING

Your laptop, power cables, software, smart phones, chargers, monitors, mice, ideas, and half finished projects.

HOW TO PREPARE

Familiarize yourself with at these data sources to see what's out there:
The event is meant to be a technical programming, app building, hacking experience.  We will be working together to build actual apps during the event.

If you are non-technical, we still need your help.  During the event entrepreneurs  business, marketing, and regular citizens can help steer the direction of the development and explore great ideas with the techies, and work on the presentation and communitating the idea clearly.  You can also spend some time updating your neighborhood's Open Street Map data using the new iD online editing tool.

VOLUNTEERS

We are looking for volunteers for this year's event to help with organizing, planning, day-of activities, picking up food and drinks, etc.  Contact us at the Civic Data Alliance, Louisville's Code for America brigade and the organizing body for this year's NDoCH. Sign up and post at the official Civic Data Alliance forums and look there and on Twitter for meetup times.

HASHTAGS

Our hashtag is #hackville.  Our local organizer's handle is @CivicDataAlly. The national hashtag is #hackforchange.  The national organization is @civichackingday.

RESOURCES

As a national contributor for NDoCH, YourMapper has made its open data and CrimeScore APIs open to all hackers for free!
YourMapper API - Details - Free API Ultra Plan - Github
CrimeScore API - Details - Free API Ultra Plan - Github

CLICKSee a RECAP of 2013 event.

SPONSORS

Contact us to become a food, in-kind, monetary, or sponsor, and get your logo below and shout outs at the event!
heine
tacopunk


MEDIA COVERAGE

  • Insider Louisville - #Hackville returns: National Day of Civic Hacking on Saturday, May 31
  • WHAS11 - National Day of Civic Hacking comes to Louisville

CONTACT

Contact one of your local organizers (listed below) to find out how to help, sponsor, or if you have questions. About National Day of Civic HackingOn May 31 and June 1, 2014, we’ll be making history all over again. For the second time, the National Day of Civic Hacking will unite technologists, entrepreneurs, developers and other citizens in using open data to improve communities and the governments that serve them.

SPONSORS & PARTNERS

Monday, March 24, 2014

CrimeScore: A Local Open Data Safety API

CrimeScore is a new local open data API by YourMapper that gives you a detailed safety grade at your current location.
CrimeScore: A Safety Rating for Your Location
CrimeScore: A Safety Rating for Your Location

Methodology

CrimeScore rating uses a propriety methodology based on address-level open data crime reports, weighted for type of crime, recency, and proximity, then adjusted by neighboring CrimeScore ratings, and finally statistically standardized across a bell curve based on all the CrimeScores across a city, updated daily.

Coverage Areas

Our nationwide crime rating for your location is available in the following cities, with more being added soon.

  • San Francisco, CA
  • Washington, DC
  • Anchorage, AK
  • Louisville, KY
  • Miami, FL
  • Fort Worth, TX
  • Chicago, IL
  • Seattle, WA
  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Albuquerque, NM
  • Richmond, VA
  • Cincinnati, OH
  • Atlanta, GA

Coming Soon:

  • Portland, OR
  • Kansas City, MO
  • Lexington, KY
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • …and more


API Access

Directly access the CrimeScore API, with dynamic documentation and in-browser testing on Mashape.
Mashape CrimeScore API
Mashape CrimeScore API
Also, check out our GitHub repository for a server-side example using Mashape, and full code for an interactive online browser map.

Badges and Graphics

We have a variety of badges (download) you can use on your website or app that are color coded to show grades, and only require you to overlay the grade or score that we return for a location.
CrimeScore badge graphics
CrimeScore badge graphics

Pebble App

CrimeScore is a GPS enabled Pebble app that calculates a composite score based on the amount of crime in your immediate area.
Pebble CrimeScore: GPS Safety Rating
Pebble CrimeScore: GPS Safety Rating
We’ve submitted it to Pebble’s online app challenge through ChallengePost.
If you have a moment, head over there and vote or leave a comment!

iPhone App

SafetyCheck is a mobile iphone app that gives you a CrimeScore rating at your current location. The app shows a rating from 1 to 10 of your current safety level, and the number of recent crimes in your area.  It uses the API to keep all the data processing server-side.
SafetyCheck Local iPhone App
SafetyCheck Local iPhone App

Google Glass App

AskOpenData.com has integrated the CrimeScore API into his Washington DC Google Glass transit directions app called Ask Metro.  It lets you know the crime rating of the station you are headed to.
Ask Metro CrimeScore Integration
Ask Metro CrimeScore Integration

Your App?

Get starting adding a CrimeScore rating to your existing services, adding value and information for your new and existing clients.  Or come up with your own app or service based on ideas we haven’t even thought of yet!

Monday, January 27, 2014

TARC Real-Time Bus Data Published to Google

TARC had a January 17, 2014 press conference with the Metro Government about releasing their real-time bus data to the public and to Google.  Google is now absorbing it and using it automatically to adjust schedules when you get tarnsit directions on your desktop (Google hasn't updated their mobile apps with any real-time data from any city yet).  


They also worked with Trapeze to create a decent trip planner (desktop only) that shows the real time location of each bus.  Interestingly, this web app is getting the bus locations every 3 seconds (here, though no data without post request and header info - look at developer console to see JSON data being returned) through an AJAX request, while the public feed is only updated every 60 seconds.  That's an unfortunate difference...


With the public feed, I was able to create a real-time snapshot of every active bus in the city, along with info about how early/late it is, next stop arrival time, route, etc.  Again, this only really works well on a desktop. We have created a developer API to allow anyone get the positions and meta data of each bus for thier own ( hopefully better) app or website.


Ted Smith announced at the press conference that the city would be having a $1,000 developer contest to create the best service that helps get people riding the bus and visiting local businesses and attractions.  As of now (Jan 27), there is no information on the rules, deadlines, or details of this contest.

It does make me think of The Next Bus app I developed for the Society of News Design's international conference, which was held in Louisville in November.  There was a 24 hour hack-a-thon called Hacktucky that my team won, though the other 4 teams made some great products too.  The Next Bus was a site that did just what this contest requires: gets people riding the bus to local destinations with minimal effort and real-time bus tracking.  


While currently there is no way to get Louisville real-time bus data on your mobile device, there are 4 Apple iOS apps I found that have transit data for Louisiville and other cities, and real-time locations for some cities, so these might be adding Louisville real-time data soon.


HopStop - The only public transit app you'll ever need.

Transit App -  Whereever you are, instantly know when the next bus or train is arriving.

Transit Directions - Transit app provides public transportation navigation for your iPhone/iPad.

Roadify - Getting around your city is easier than ever.

Let's hope that after the city's contest is announced and finished, we have a few good local services that use TARC's real-time bus data.





Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Geospacial Open Data in KY - Louisville v Lexington (Part 2)

Following up on my last post about the state of open data in Kentucky, I want to now do a detailed comparison of every city in Kentucky that has open data online, and give them some sort of ranking.

Right now, only Louisville and Lexington, KY's two largest cities, have any open data as far as I know.  Please leave a comment if you know of another city or have heard another one might be opening their data soon.



There are two types of geospacial open data I'm going to look at, CSV/OMG formatted bulk address-level data, and GIS layer/shape data.  The CSV data is good to pull into a standard database and create javascript based online maps of point visualizations, like we do at Your Mapper.  The GIS data is great for doing offline (though some online) visualizations and creating map-based reports and analysis, like Map Grapher does.

I prefer the bulk CSV data format, because if you want to you can import this into a GIS system, but it's harder to break GIS data in a CSV format for generic database loading.  Having said that, some data is best output in GIS formats, like polygon area outlines (instead of point data).

I'd also like to point out what open data is.  It's not just that it's data on a website in an interactive form, or a PDF to download.  And it doesn't count if it costs money for a complete download.  See the 8 principles of open data for a list, and I'd like to add that historic data is a ninth principle.

Louisville v. Lexington


Right now, the only two cities in KY with an open data portal are Louisville and Lexington.  So it's a UK v. UofL, or Red vs. Blue, matchup for now.  The data are things like crime reports, 311 calls, business licenses, restaurant health ratings, building permits, bike racks, parking meters, property values, recent home sales, vacant properties, and foreclosures, and also GIS layer data.

So let's compare the two in the hopes of fostering some friendly competition and pushing each other to open more data.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Open Data in Kentucky: An Overview (Part 1)

As the national and international movement for open data and government transparency progresses, I'd like to take a moment and discuss the state of things here in Kentucky.


Open Data Definition


First let's define "open data." To me this means that the raw data is available in a bulk download format, like CSV, as opposed to online web databases or PDFs.  These later types of data are more part of government 'transparency' initiatives, rather than open data.  Open data should also be as complete as possible, including historic data, to the extent that privacy laws allow.  

Financial Data


This is the highest priority for government transparency pushes, and with good reason.  There is a great amount of open data regarding government financial records at Kentucky's Transparency Portal, KY Citizen Auditor Initiative,  Louisville's LouieStat,  Louisville Salary and Expenditure data, and other similar data in KY's larger cities.

Public Transit Data


Covington KY was the first to open its public transit feed to the public, with Lexington, then Louisville following.  This allows Google and other companies to absorb public transit schedules and routes to allow the building of direction and travel time applications.  Almost every county in KY has public transit, but most have not made this data available.

Property Data


Property open data is in need of a big overhaul in KY.  Kentucky is unique in the USA because it has county Property Valuation Administrators (PVAs) that asses the taxable values of all property in their county.  Interestingly, these are state-run organizations, with state-level rules and recommendations for opening data and data pricing requests.  Not one of the 120 counties have open property value data. Instead, each charge for bulk downloads and extended property data info.  Some have online text searches, and a few have map visualizations usually run by local or out-of-state vendors, of varying quality and usefulness.

Other Data


Kentucky has an excellent car accident database, and you can grab very detailed open data from it.  Actually, I'd say this is the most complete non-GIS open data set in KY, though the web interface is a bit cumbersome.

The KY Sex Offender database has data available online, but there is no way to download the raw data.  I suspect part of this is because of the State Police's use of a closed third-party tool, which is unfortunate for us all.

GIS Open Data


GIS data is what helps make city government more efficient - it maps everything a city government needs to know about: snow routes, power lines, water lines, property boundaries, street names, and so much more.  But, it's really only useful internally, and so far most KY city govs haven't pushed that data out to visualizations on websites, except Louisville, though Lexington has clunky version.  And no one has opened their GIS data for free download, until Lexington did last week.  Another bright spot is at the state level, where KY has not only visualizations of their GIS data online, but also allows open data downloads.

Geospacial Open Data


Now we get to the kind of data I am interested in and aggregate on Your Mapper.  CSV or OMG Standard formatted raw hyperlocal data that is specific to the street address level.  Things like crime reports, 311 calls, business licenses, restaurant health ratings, building permits, bike racks, parking meters, property values, recent home sales, vacant properties, and foreclosures.  This is where I'd like to draw up some friendly city comparisons in the spirit of cooperative competition.  I'll throw in GIS too since Lexington has done such a good job with it.

In my next blog post, I'll get into a detailed comparison, so stay tuned.

Any other open data I've missed across the state?  Let me know in the comments and I'll update the post.