You know when headlines promoting CityCamp Raleigh include “Techies beckoned to Raleigh for CityCamp”, I was a little uncertain as to what role I play as a self-proclaimed non-techie, especially since the ‘camping gear’ for the event listed items other than marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers.
CityCamp Raleigh, the ‘unconference’ aimed to connect Raleigh to its people by re-imaging how technology can empower communities and draw connections for a more participatory and transparent government. Bringing together government, business, neighborhood, non-profit, and academic communities, the 3-day event kicked off with speakers from the government perspective and the business perspective. This provided a working foundation and understanding of technology, transparency, collaboration, and open source in government, while at the same time highlighting the importance of citizen participation. Doing just that, the floor opened up for comments and questions – providing a foreshadowing of the types of solutions that fueled the following days ideas and work sessions.
Michael Tiemann, Red Hat VP Open Source Affairs
Gail Roper, City of Raleigh Chief Information & Community Outreach Officer
With over 225 campers, and over 54 ideas, 524 votes were cast on the Google moderator site. With ideas from improving democracy through social tools to creating greater participation in planning and commenting on proposed legislation, to a developing a transparent way to track school achievement and provide input and shared experiences on city improvements (pot-holes and trash), campers were eager to explore ways to empower the community with information. Of course, there were also ideas thrown out to create an app for just about anything: apps for geo-locating services and transit, to food trucks – tell me where to get cool food and pay for my parking space via mobile (once alerted that my time has run out because I spent too much time wandering for said food truck to food truck)!
Offering a $5000 cash prize for creativity, execution and feasibility, teams met, proposed and prototyped a solution (yes, over the weekend!) and presented it – you gotta hand it to the judges. They had their work cut out for them as 8 teams presented some pretty amazing stuff.
Winning this year’s event was team Open It Up. Hearing the challenges with the flexibility of school report card data supplied by the Department of Public Instruction, Open It Up, utilized the current static information of the school report to leverage open format data and demonstrate rapid deployment possibilities, so that parent, for example can easily compare performance data between schools or highlight trends over time. The working prototype, developed in less than two days, is available at http://ncopendata.org/.
Congratulations to the Open It Up team members:
- Hope Ethington
- Kevin Flannagan
- Jason Horne
- Bryan LeClaire
- Kelly Reid
- Carlos Santana
Learn more about the winners and other presented solutions here.
To continue the conversation, read more about it at CityCamp Raleigh’s blog.
Check out other videos from the day’s events!
Kevin Curry, CityCamp
Jason Hibbets, Red Hat Project Manager & Lead Administrator for opensource.com