Crowdsourcing and Disinformation

Recently, TOPP Labs embarked on a joint venture with Transportation Alternatives to build a “Candidate Survey” website, showing New York users how their local political candidates responded to a TA survey. TA is going to build the public-facing site, and TOPP is going to build a back-end service that does geographic lookup of candidates based Read more…

Hacking The City Recap

Thanks to everyone who came to the Hacking the City event last night at Personal Democracy Forum. The NYFI blog at the NY Observer has a nice write-up: The conversation was led by members of The Open Planning Project, DIYcity founder John Geraci, and Streetsblog editor-in-chief Aaron Naparstek, who began by opening up the floor Read more…

Mapping a better world

The Economist, in its June 6th 2009 issue article “Mapping a better world,” discusses the role maps play in effecting social change.  They seem to miss, however, how open source tools directly influence this development.  Open source mapping is not about budgeting for the non-profit with limited resources.   Rather, it provides solutions that work for Read more…

GeoExplorer Preview

The developers at OpenGeo have been working with others toward an initial release of the GeoExt toolkit.  GeoExt brings together the spatial capabilities of OpenLayers with the user interface power of ExtJS.  To demonstrate the types of applications that can be built with GeoExt, we’re putting out a preview release of GeoExplorer. The goal of Read more…

Block Party NYC Site Launched

Who knew there are over 3000 block parties in New York City each summer?  Well, we’ve just launched BlockPartyNYC.org to be the go-to site for everything block party.  The site both contains information to assist you in throwing a block party, and allows you to promote your block party on our interactive map.  You can Read more…

Open Source for Government: Landgate

We just put up a new case study about how Western Australia’s is leveraging open source software and collaborative mapping. As the government authority responsible for land and property information, Landgate manages data that underpins hundreds of civil services. Landgate had TOPP’s OpenGeo division build a prototype for collaborative mapping, and the result has the Read more…

Senatepedia: By Joe Citizen, for Joe Citizen

My first session was facilitated by Karen Adams, who works in Senate Tech Services. Karen came with a kernel of an idea for a ‘NY Senatepedia wiki’…a place where people could explain Senate jargon, document the histories of different legal actions, and connect items with related information.

A Senatepedia has a ton of merit. It would facilitate peer-to-peer learning between private citizens. It would put in plain view the machinery of […]

CapitolCamp

On Friday, I took my first trip up to Albany for the first (fingers crossed) CapitolCamp, an unconference put together by the NY State Senate CIO and the NY State CIO.

A real range people and experiences were represented: private citizens who had a specific need, public servants who can see the process challenges of moving to bottom-up systems, librarians who are the faithful stewards of Senate data, a number of folks hoping to make sense of all the silly web app names being thrown their way, the geeks who spend all day on those apps.

This diversity was a challenge, but that’s why we all came together in the first place. This is a big responsibility of people who work and play on the Web: to work with public servants to understand the current process challenges and ways to address them.

TOPP got kudos at a few points, both for the community tools at Livable Streets and for converting the MTA Budget data into an open, mashable form.

More after the jump…

Map Your Comments

We’ve just released a plugin for WordPress that allows comments to be located on a map.  We saw that some of the issues we are exploring on Streetsblog and GothamSchools have an important geographic aspect to them and that the discussions that were taking place around these issues would be enhanced if each comment could Read more…

The One Answer You Get From Data

In a previous post I said there is “no one answer about what you will get out of this information”. This is probably true for data generally. But it’s not how a lot of people get interested in open government. For instance: the TIF data I noted in that previous post. Many of the people Read more…