Open Data Archives - Accela

Tag Archives: Open Data

Yes, Open Data Day Exists, and There Are Civic Hacking Events to Celebrate It

Mark Headd
Accela has been barnstorming big cities in recent weeks, attending civic tech and open data events. Here’s a recap of several events that Accela has helped support in the first part of 2016. New York City School of Data New York City School of Data was held on international Open Data Day, joining New York with cities across the country and around the world to celebrate open data. The event also helped to commemorate the adoption of the city’s open data law. Over 260 people attended the event, which also included strong representation from young people and students that attending talks to learn about open data and getting involved with improving their neighborhoods…. Continue reading


Reflections and Predictions: How 2015 Successes Position Us to Capitalize on the Year Ahead

Maury Blackman
Without a doubt, 2015 was Accela’s biggest year to date. In February, we announced new funding — bringing us just north of $233 million invested in the business. We’re using the latest round to continue growing the Accela family through acquisitions and partnerships, while investing in building an even stronger Civic Platform. Building on six announced acquisitions in 2014 (Decade Software, Government Outreach, Kinsail, Envista, IQM2, GeoTMS), we established our productivity and civic engagement platform as unparalleled in the industry, adding Springbrook Software, SoftRight and PublicStuff in Spring 2015. We’re now laser-focused on efficiently integrating these stellar technologies into the core infrastructure of the Accela Civic Platform…. Continue reading

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2015: The Year in Building Permits

Mark Headd
2015 was a big year for building permits. This year, Accela led a coalition of civic technology companies and other stakeholders in the development of the first ever shared data specification for building permit data. This new standard is being implemented in cities across the country and will provide new and powerful insights into the operation of cities and the changing character of communities. To demonstrate the power of this new standard, we’re updating our year-end building permit review web app from last year to showcase four jurisdictions that are now publishing data in the new Building and Land Development Specification (BLDS) format. You can view our updated building permit review application here…. Continue reading

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Environmental Health Is a Contact Sport

Darryl Booth
Environmental Health leaders and practitioners convened in Orlando this month to fortify core practices and study emerging public health matters during the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA)’s Annual Educational Conference & Exhibition. Each year, for nearly twenty years, I attend and often bring a new staff member to get a flavor of environmental health and to internalize its mission. NEHA’s new charismatic Executive Director, Dr. David Dyjack, made a splash with his keynote address. Taking a posture reminiscent of President Roosevelt’s fireside chats, Dr. Dyjack introduced himself and called upon NEHA leaders, members and staff to embrace a three-point strategy, which included activating environmental health professionals,… Continue reading

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Announcing BLDS 1.0

Mark Headd
In May, I described a months-long process that was focused on the development of a new building permit data standard called the Building and Land Development Specification (BLDS, pronounced “builds”). When we discussed our work in helping to develop this standard, we made specific note of the importance of building permit data: “A shared standard for building permit data that can be adopted by multiple governments will help foster the development of new solutions that can be shared between jurisdictions. It will allow for analysis across jurisdictions, helping to highlight what works well and what doesn’t. And, most importantly, it can help foster a better understanding of the permit process — which can have a direct impact on the neighborhoods we live in — by ensuring a common vocabulary for important events and activities.” Last week,… Continue reading

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Civic Innovation in the Triangle

Mark Headd
This past weekend, a CityCamp unconference and hackathon were held in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina. Long known as a home for technology innovators, the area has hosted a CityCamp event for the last five years, and the event is now marketed statewide. I had the privilege to present as a keynote speaker at this year’s event and to attend the weekend hackathon. CityCamp NC is an “unconference,” where attendees collaboratively decide on the agenda for the event in a brainstorming session that takes place shortly after the event begins. CityCamp NC was also complemented by some planned sessions run by APPCityLife (an Accela Development partner) and Girl Develop It…. Continue reading

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Developing a Data Standard for Building Permits

Mark Headd
At Accela, we understand the power of permit data. For the past several months, Accela has been working with a broad consortium of stakeholders to develop a data standard for building permits issued by cities and counties. We’re helping a growing number of our customers publish their data in this format and we’ve been hard at work building a prototype application based on this new data standard. Now we want you to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty using this data — we want to hear what people think of the data we’re currently publishing, and what they’d like to see in a new building permit data standard…. Continue reading

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CA Fwd’s Summit on Data: Creating Sustainable Open Data Programs

Josh Frank
On March 18th I attended CA Fwd’s annual Summit on Data. Speakers touched on many themes related to the sustainability of open data programs, with a focus on how open data can create value for governments, the private sector and citizens. Making open data programs within government agencies sustainable has been a recurring theme that I have come across in my research on open data. One point that Michael Chui, a partner from the McKinsey Global Institute, brought up was that opening data is not an end in itself. Rather, people need usable applications to contextualize the data and make it actionable. Referencing the McKinsey Global Institute’s study,… Continue reading


Bringing a New Era of Citizen Engagement to the Big Apple

Rob Cassetti
New York is a hub for civic technology and open government initiatives. With one of the most detailed open data policies and the newly launched Civic Hall center for civic innovators, the City is on the forefront of true civic engagement – applying technology to better serve citizens. This past Wednesday we held a gathering for civic-minded developers, government officials, influencers and media at the historic Fraunces Tavern in New York to celebrate the civic technology boom in the city. The Tavern boasts a rich history as the setting for George Washington’s famed farewell to his officers in 1783. It served as the perfect backdrop to talk about changes in government and how open data and automated services can improve relationships between agencies and the citizens they serve every day…. Continue reading


Announcing the Accela Connect Hackathon Winners!

Mark Headd
The Accela Connect Conference – held from March 1st through 4th at the Squaw Valley Resort in Olympic Valley, California – brought together Accela staff, partners and developers for four great days of networking, training and discussions. And, of course, we found some time to do some civic hacking. We kicked off our annual partner conference with a one-day hackathon! Civic technologists, developers and Accela staff worked together to build new solutions using government open data hosted on CivicData. Almost 30 developers signed up to participate in the event. By the end of the day, we received nine inspiring submissions, including: data visualizations and analytics, custom CivicData agencies,… Continue reading

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