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Tag Archives: Civic Engagement

Guest Blog on PBS MediaShift: Open Data Beyond the Big City

Mark Headd
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The below is an excerpt of my guest blog on PBS MediaShift. You can read the full post here. Big cities, like San Francisco, are more likely to have adopted open data than smaller cities. This is a problem, says Headd. Photo by Thomas Hawk via Flickr and used here with Creative Commons license. “The future is already here — it’s just not evenly distributed.”–William Gibson. The Economist, December 4, 2003 The last time I heard Tim O’Reilly speak was at the Accela Engage conference in San Diego earlier this year. In his remarks, Tim used the above quote from William Gibson — it struck me as a pretty accurate way to describe the current state of open data in this country…. Continue reading

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A Year in Review: The Top 5 Advances in Civic Engagement

Maury Blackman
Management Analyst Jason Stewart with Tacoma, Washington Uses the Accela Civic Platform
Now that Accela Engage is less than a month away, I find myself reflecting on what we’ve achieved as a community since we last met in San Diego. What’s most staggering is the number of new and upgraded customers joining the Accela community, including Seattle, Washington, the State of New Mexico, Dayton, Ohio, Chesapeake, Virginia, Queen Creek, Arizona, and Menifee, California. We now have over 800 customers around the world. Each new customer joins a strong and active community of their peers, combining the power of their solution with the knowledge other agencies have gained solving similar challenges. Building this strong ecosystem means more than just onboarding new customers…. Continue reading

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Working on a New Vision of Democracy at CivicMakers

Megan Lunetta
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In a world of civic cynicism and disconnection, a surprising group of people came together to discuss a new vision for democracy. The first Inaugural CivicMakers Salon was held this week at the Runway Incubator in San Francisco. The challenge posed to event attendees was to answer this question: What should real democracy look like and how can technology help us get there? A new conversation about the opportunity to use technology to bridge the gap between government and citizens is being encouraged by events like this. To kick it off we heard from one of the event organizers, Lawrence Grodeska, Director of Nonprofit Community at Change.org,… Continue reading

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Open Data Delivering on Its Promise to Bring Governments and Citizens Together

Jeff Stiles
The open government movement is gaining critical momentum, and that shouldn’t be a surprise. Making the data the government collects publicly available has the power to transform everyday life by better informing our decisions, from what restaurant to eat at, to where to start your business, to what apartment to rent. Just last week we had great presence at events from Sacramento to Berkeley. There was an exciting group of experts lined up to speak at California FWD’s open data event—including Kris Trujillo, the lead architect of Accela’s free open data portal, CivicData.com. Kris talked about open data as the key to bridging the divide between government and citizens and the opportunity for developers and civic entrepreneurs to build businesses by creating useful apps for government…. Continue reading

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Making Ordinary Citizens Civic Heroes

Jeff Stiles
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Allen Chen and I had the chance to present to the Concord City Council last week. Concord, which is located in the San Francisco Bay Area, is actively using Accela to manage a lot of their land, licensing and assets, and they also have agreed to partner with us to help test, validate and chart the future of Civic Hero, a mobile app for iPhone, Android and Windows phones that lets citizens easily report community issues such as potholes, graffiti or damaged public property to their local government. The City Council meeting was like many others: a Council comprised of many community elders and prominent citizens,… Continue reading

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Open Data Is Here: How Will You Bring Your Agency’s Data to Life?

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The office has been buzzing with excitement this week with the launch of CivicData.com. We’ve been hard at work to bring this to fruition. More importantly, everyone at Accela is excited about what this means for our customers. In recent months, the City of El Paso created a Garbage App with CityGovApp that increases driver productivity while enhancing citizen engagement—all from a smartphone. Civic hackers used Salt Lake City’s data to create a “Taco Cart” app, which helps citizens (and presumably inspectors) locate these mobile food establishments. We’re amazed by the sheer volume of civic-minded developers who are looking to build and deploy apps for government…. Continue reading

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Democratize Your Data with CivicData.com

Jeff Stiles
By now, I hope you’ve heard about the open data movement, and have seen how forward-thinking agencies are driving innovation by leveraging open data in hackathons and events like CityCamp Palo Alto. There are some shining examples of how open data is being used to add value and deliver services to communities. This opportunity is huge and has undeniable potential to impact governing, civic engagement and government business. But the open data movement is in its infancy, and we have a long way to go before the real value of open data begins to be realized. Honest reflection tells us that today, a small fraction of agencies are actively providing open data,… Continue reading

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Looking Back at Accela Engage 2013: Civic Engagement Trends and the Value of Open Data

Jeff Stiles
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I’ve had a chance to reflect on Accela Engage 2013 and wanted to share a few key takeaways. It was my first year attending the conference, and I was delighted by the energy and level of active participation throughout the week. Over 450 customers representing more than 100 agencies around the world made it a priority to attend to learn about our strategy and plans, to network and to learn. First, a quick synopsis for those of you who were not able to attend this year. Our CEO, Maury Blackman, opened his keynote by showcasing the power of engagement between government agencies, citizens and businesses. Engagement was a common theme throughout the week,… Continue reading

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The Accela Open Data Platform: Coming Soon to An Agency Near You

Kris Trujillo
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During the opening keynote at the Accela Engage conference two weeks ago, I gave a sneak peek look at the upcoming Accela Open Data Platform. It was gratifying to see how that quick peek turned into the talk of the conference. During the weeklong conference, I had numerous agencies approach me asking when they can get their hands on our new Open Data Platform. Each person who approached me had the same thing to say: “What you have created is exactly what my agency needs and solves our current open data problems perfectly.” And just yesterday, our very own Maury Blackman discussed open data on NBC’s Press:Here with Scott McGrew in a segment titled “Bringing Government Data Online.” So,… Continue reading

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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Accela Engage 2013 – DON’T PANIC!

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There’s less than one week left until Accela Engage 2013 kicks off in San Diego, but don’t panic. Although the world isn’t coming to an end like in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, time is running out to carefully plan your schedule to ensure you make the most of your time during the conference. If you haven’t nailed down your must-attend sessions and events, here’s a quick guide to a few things that may just help round out your experience next week: Haven’t registered yet? Not being able to attend Accela Engage would obviously have a serious impact on your entire experience. You can register until 11:59 pm on Wednesday,… Continue reading

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