This guest post comes from Azavea’s Andrew Thompson:
Azavea has been a huge supporter of the open data community for years now, and we are proud to be exhibiting at Data Transparency 2013 on Sept. 10th in Washington. As a geographic data analysis and software development company, quality data is at the forefront of almost every project and product we release, and open data makes our work that much easier and more powerful. As the federal government transforms information currently locked in static documents into open data – standardized, structured, and freely available – we’ll be able to use it to create new platforms that deliver geography-based insights for citizens, business, and policymakers. As a B Corporation, open data is also important to our company’s civic mission because we believe it contributes to better government and a more engaged citizenry.
We frequently participate in and sponsor open data and civic hacking events like NASA’s Space Apps, the Sunlight Foundation’s TransparencyCamp, and Random Hacks of Kindness. Years ago, we took it upon ourselves to build OpenDataPhilly.org, which is still used by our hometown City of Philadelphia as its official open data catalog, and was part of an “Open Data Race” effort to get more organizations advocating for open data. The underlying OpenDataCatalog open source project has been adopted in cities like San Diego and others.
Key products of ours that we will be showcasing at the Data Transparency conference both
use and create open data. OpenTreeMap is our open source crowdsourced tree inventory and public engagement platform for urban forestry, which lets ordinary citizens with smartphones map trees in their city, creating open data that can be analyzed for environmental benefits and visualize the importance and value of trees and green infrastructure.
Our Cicero API allows advocacy groups and other organizations to easily match the addresses of their constituents with the districts of elected officials and contact information essential to our democracy. Our DistrictBuilder open source project also aims to make the process of political redistricting more open and collaborative. The more levels of government that open key political data and information in machine readable formats, the easier it is for us to improve our Cicero and DistrictBuilder tools for use by advocacy groups and citizens themselves.
We look forward to joining other members of the growing open data community at the conference in two weeks. See you there!