July 31, 2012

Palo Alto Opens Its Arms to Open Government

PALO ALTO is already well known as a global center of technology innovation. But now the city is embracing technology with a potential to disrupt local government.

The city of Palo Alto announced today the launch of a new open data platform that represents a first step to becoming a truly digital city. The platform, powered by Junar, will give the city's tech-savvy residents and other interested developers a wealth of easily consumable data in hopes that they will go off and create new, useful applications that tie the city's residents closer together and change their view of government from a provider of services to a facilitator of community building.

Imagine, for instance, a developer creating an app with public data that lets users adopt a roadside storm drain and volunteering to clear it if it clogs - such an app would create a sense of community involvement for the user and potentially save the city money. (Seattle already does this least you think it's a crazy idea).

At first, Palo Alto will be releasing the following information to developers as part of the project:

-2010 census data for Palo Alto
-Pavement condition ratings
-City tree locations
-Bicycle paths and hiking trails
-Creek water level
-Rainfall tide
-Utility data

Read an interview with Palo Alto's Chief Information Officer here >

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