Local government hero shout out

In my opinion you can never have too much shameless promotion, especially when it is for someone other than yourself. 

Chris Moore

The concepts of Government 2.0 are picking up momentum and, as I have noted, will fit neatly within the concepts of the Social Ecosystem (note shameless plug for The Social Ecosystem 🙂 ).  No place are these gains more clear than in Edmonton, Canada, where Chris Moore has driven change as the city’s Chief Information Officer.  It was great to see Chris honored as one of Alberta’s 50 Most Influential People.  Congratulations Chris!

Greg Tracy

I recently learned about a project in Madison,Wisconsin, to help make bus schedule information more easily available to the citizens of Madison.  The project, named SMSMyBus, uses less-than-open transportation data to deliver an SMS-based application.  Unlike Boston, where open data sets are provided by the Department of  Transportation, Greg has been unable to convince local government officials of the need to open the data.  Budgets are tight and they cannot prioritize this project.  So, what has Greg done?

  • He discovered that the bus schedule information he needed was available on the web already.  By manipulating URLs he could access all the information he needed.
  • Using this information he created an application that manipulates web pages, “scraping” data from the pages as needed.
  • Using the Twillio service, sends and receives SMS messages (6 cents per message). While the local government in Madison could benefit from case studies and education to understand the ROI associated with opening these data sets, they have been supportive of these efforts.

Kudos Greg, great job!

John

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