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Guest Blog from Appallicious: Open Gov on the Move in 2014

Editor's Note: Yo Yoshida is the CEO and co-founder of the San Francisco civic start-up, Appallicious. The beginning of 2014 has proved to be a busy one for both Appallicious , and the entire open data movement. To say a lot is going on would be an understatement. Next week, I’ll be participating in  Accela’s annual Partner and Developer Conference to discuss how our company and other civic startups are improving communication between citizens, businesses and government agencies.  Accela is one of the leading civic engagement platform providers — we are thrilled to have been invited up to Tahoe for the event. Last year it was announced that the California based company  raised $40 million. We are excited to learn from other leaders in the space and share what we are gearing up to launch. I’ll join a panel of open data advocates from Accela,  OpenCounter and  BuildingEye . OpenCounter...
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Open Salt Lake Brigade: An Inside Look

In my previous post, I shared how I came to discover Code for America, become involved and ultimately become a Brigade Captain for Open Salt Lake. Now, I'd like to share a little bit about how the Brigade works and a couple of the projects we've been working on. The Open Salt Lake Brigade has 7-10 core members who conduct weekly meetings and are highly committed to this cause. A critical element in making our projects a success is that several of our members are employees of the City of Salt Lake. For example, Nole Walkingshaw, Brigade Captain for Open Salt Lake, is the Planning Programs Supervisor for the City of Salt Lake. Additionally, one of our members, Bill Haight, is the CIO of the City of Salt Lake and has actively attended our meetups and sponsors the group’s activities. Through these individuals, we are not only able to better...
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My Journey with Code for America: From Discovery to Brigade Captain

Many of you have heard of Code for America by now and the amazing work this organization is doing to improve communication between citizens and their government agencies through technology. If you haven’t, Code for America believes that in order to improve government, we must improve citizenship. The organization helps cities create 21st century interfaces to government that are simple, beautiful and easy to use. Deploying technologies that make it easier for your agency to engage with citizens to improve your city not only builds trust, but it also changes the conversation between government and its citizens. Back in 2012, I didn’t know anything about Code for America. As the senior software architect for a provider of civic engagement solutions headquartered in the Bay Area, however, I was eager to evangelize the Accela Civic Platform and what it had to offer developers. This quest to bring our message to developers would...
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Open Data Is Here: How Will You Bring Your Agency’s Data to Life?

The office has been buzzing with excitement this week with the launch of . 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. Oftentimes, they don’t understand what kind of data you have. Just opening up your data can result in unexpected new ways to engage with citizens and businesses. Several agencies have already published datasets on What will your data look like? In case...
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Democratize Your Data with

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, it’s complex and costly for them, and there are very few implemented standards—datasets are described in very different ways. From a developer standpoint, these datasets are deployed uniquely for each jurisdiction. That makes it very difficult...
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Looking Back at Accela Engage 2013: Civic Engagement Trends and the Value of Open Data

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, and is the reason we renamed our user conference Accela Engage this year. Accela CEO Maury Blackman delivers the keynote address at Accela Engage: 2013 User Conference. During his keynote, Maury discussed four key trends we’ve talked about...
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