The Longest Now

Everyblock: how do we make this everybuilding?
Sunday May 29th 2011, 4:16 pm
Filed under: %a la mod,chain-gang,metrics

Projects like EveryBlock have a noble goal – to have information about every block in a city for cities around the world, to let you follow information relevant to where you live and work.  But they tend to stall at the level of a few thousand new entries about a city each day — far less than even the collective newsrooms in a city process.  And they don’t have many ways for individuals to contribute information about where they live, or to distribute the task of seeking out new govenment data and posting / tagging it where appropriate.

How do we make things like this real?  How do we identify the hundred or so large ongoing tasks for a city – from posting its laws and regulations and codes, to sharing any information about its public works, to sharing updates from residents about the state of its infrastructur, to crimes and concerns, to social events and new business openings, to apartments for rent and neighborhood committee meetings?


3 Comments so far
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You make this real by (a) citizen activism to make cities and towns publish detailed information about things like road repairs and reported potholes and planned infrastructure changes and where crimes happen, and by (b) having such information available via an api from either from government sites or (better) a third-party site dedicated to hosting such data.

You don’t get there by asking people with busy lives to rekey all the (constantly changing) information that governments already have in their databases.

Comment by John Broughton 05.30.11 @ 11:54 am

John – I agree with a) and b). As to the negative part — Is there no role for groups of individuals to serve as a human api for the first 0.1% to demonstrate the feasibility of a new mode of sharing and to show visualizations of data that has been locked up?

Comment by metasj 05.30.11 @ 4:54 pm

It would certainly be a valuable start to define all the datasets (events) that would be useful (bus stops and schedules, crimes, road repairs, traffic light bulb outages, EMS responses, reported potholes, planned utility work, health department reports on restaurants, etc., etc.), and to do a prototype of what a block would “look” like if all that data were available.

And then perhaps the next step would be to find a grant of a million dollars or so to try to tempt a smaller city or town to actually build each and every api. Or an X-prize of $10 million to the first local government to provide at least 90% of the data via api.

Comment by John Broughton 06.04.11 @ 10:00 pm

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