Laura Oxenfeld My Philly Buzz

‘MyPhilly’ Aims to Increase Neighborhood Involvement

Article posted by Kamal Elliott at the Office of Open Data and Digital Transformation

A map of RCOs shared by the City already exists, but the new app can facilitate new levels of engagement. “[The government resource] serves a lot of different purposes, so you have to dig in the settings to get to the RCO layer,” said Laura Oxenfeld, MyPhilly’s lead user experience designer and project manager. “So ours is just devoted to that.”

Read the full article on beta.phila.gov…Published

Casey Vaughan Leverage: Philly Campaign Finance Buzz

Leverage Wins Civic Tech Prize at #CaasH

This project was in better shape than the rest of the cohort, as it was the team’s second hackathon attempt at putting together a comprehensive review of campaign finance data in Philly. The site has an active API which can be leveraged by other cities (and states? and countries?). Thanks to its advanced state, the team behind Leverage took home the Civic Tech award.

Read the full article on technical.ly…Published

Michiko Quinones YadaGuru - College Application Reminders Buzz

We're trying to solve this problem

This is why we are doing what we do. NYT writes:

“At the same time, there’s evidence that talented kids from low-income families who could handle the work at leading colleges and get ample financial aid often don’t realize it. And there are aspects of those colleges’ admissions processes that work against them.”

Read the full article on www.nytimes.com…Published

Chris Alfano Unlock Philly Buzz

How James Tyack’s civic app has made SEPTA more accessible

Take it from James Tyack, who led a civic app project called Unlock Philly where users could report accessibility issues on SEPTA.

“When we first started recording and sharing the [elevator] outages, we saw up to 10 outages at a time with some elevators broken for two months,” he wrote. “The stats show an improvement over the past year: it’s rare to see more than one or two concurrent outages and they’re fixed quickly.”

Read the full article on technical.ly…Published

Chris Alfano Hackathons Buzz

In Which the Health Department Gets Nerdy

But that wasn’t the only nerdy thing we did that weekend. We also participated in a health hackathon sponsored by Apps4Philly and Code for Philly. That’s right, the Health Department supports hacking. Especially when that hacking is about taking health information that’s already available and making it more useful. In anticipation, we worked with the folks at OIT to publish five sets of data that we hoped folks would use.

Read the full article on phlpublichealth.org…Published

Chris Alfano Bike Route Tracker (CyclePhilly) Buzz

Next City: Philly Is Racking Up the Bike-Friendly Points

Building on the city’s two-wheeled momentum of recent years, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission released a CyclePhilly app (created by Code for Philly) last year to gather user-generated biking data. The DVRPC recently transformed those numbers into a cool map, showing 8,000-plus trips by app users in six months.

Read the full article on nextcity.org…Published

Corey Acri Bike Route Tracker (CyclePhilly) Buzz

DVRPC releases new CyclePhilly data on which streets cyclists use most

During the first six-month study period, 220 unique users logged 8,340 individual trips on the app, yielding a trove of trip data that provides a glimpse into the cycling behavior of the people who used it.

When the initial findings were released, DVRPC said they would eventually make (anonymized) trip-by-trip GIS data available for those looking to conduct additional analysis of specific routes, and yesterday they made good on that promise.

Three new datasets have now been added to the “download data” tab under “Tools and Data” on the DVRPC web site.

Trip detail by segment (available as a Shapefile) Discrete trip data for each segment in the network, including voluntary (but not personally-identifiable) rider characteristics for each trip. Trip by trip summary (available as a Shapefile or a GeoJson): Linework for every individual trip. Segment network nodes (available as a Shapefile or a GeoJson): Can be used with the above datasets to support spatial analysis, such as origin-destination analysis.

Read the full article on planphilly.com…Published

Chris Alfano Bike Route Tracker (CyclePhilly) Buzz

Ignite Philly 15 -- Best Civic Hacking Shoutout

The most bicycled street in all of Philadelphia is Spring Garden Street, at least according to CyclePhilly, the mobile app built by civic hackers at Code for Philly. The Spring Garden Street Greenway team quoted that data as they explained why and how they wanted to beautify the dilapidated and dangerous street that cuts across the whole city. (Twenty-one percent of all crashes on Spring Garden involve bikes, they said.) Their plan is to make the street not life-threateningly scary.

Read the full article on technical.ly…Published

Chris Alfano Ward Leader Baseball Cards Buzz

Racial math more complicated for Latino community

Metrics from Ward Leader Baseball Cards informed a philly.com analysis on mayoral candidate endorsements:

Here’s an example: Supporters of State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams’ campaign for mayor were more than a little peeved when a group of ward leaders and elected officials known as the Northwest Coalition endorsed Kenney for mayor. Williams and the Northwest Coalition members are African American. Kenney is white.

Here’s a key difference: a group of computer whizzes known as Code for Philly this month ranked the city’s Democratic ward leaders based on their history of turning out voters.

The Northwest Coalition ward leaders were in the top five for turnout. The LUPE ward leaders were in the bottom five.

Read the full article on www.philly.com…Published

Dawn McDougall Ward Leader Baseball Cards Buzz

Code for Philly built Philly ward leader baseball cards

Do you know who your ward leader is? Do you even know what a ward leader is?

Code for Philly wants to help. The civic hacking group built baseball cards to get you acquainted with these local political leaders. The project came out of last month’s Apps for Philly Democracy Hackathon, just in time for baseball’s opening day.

Read the full article on technical.ly…Published

Chris Alfano Bike Route Tracker (CyclePhilly) Buzz

Six months of Cycle Philly data shows which streets cyclists like best

The CyclePhilly app, a product of Code for Philly, the Bicycle Coalition, DVRPC, SEPTA, and the City of Philadelphia that logs cyclist trip data for planning purposes, has been up and running for a few months, and now we have a first look at the first six months of data they collected between May and October.

Read the full article on planphilly.com…Published

Kathryn Killebrew Grounded in Philly Buzz

Philly Urban Agriculture at EcoCamp

This is somewhat old news at this point, but thought it might be helpful to share here. At the Philly EcoCamp Hackathon this summer, we built a map site with some data layers that may be helpful for identifying vacant properties suitable for agriculture.

Here is the site. If you click a spot, it will go fetch nearby properties and show them on the map.

The code for it is here.

Read the full article on flibbertigibbet.github.io…Published

Chris Alfano After School Activities Buzz

After School Activities Widget Now Available on Philly311 Mobile App

Last week, the Mayor’s Office of Communications announced the release of the Philly311 After School Activities widget. Born out of Philly311’s public widget contest, the idea for a youth programming widget came from Code for Philly Brigade Captain Chris Alfano. Chris Alfano won the widget contest, which led to a partnership between Philly311, Code for Philly, and the After School Activities Partnership (ASAP).

Read the full article on phillyinnovates.com…Published

Chris Alfano After School Activities Buzz

City Of Philadelphia Releases After School Activities Widget

Philadelphia, August 7, 2014— The City of Philadelphia released a new widget, the After School Activities widget, which enables users to learn more about after school activities and programs in their neighborhoods. As the winning idea for the 2013 Philly311 Widget Contest, the After School Activities widget is accessible through the Philly311 Mobile App.

Read the full article on cityofphiladelphia.wordpress.com…Published

James Tyack Unlock Philly Buzz

Accessibility in an App

Unlock Philly aims to improve traveling and living in the city for people with mobility issues

Ather Sharif, who had moved to Philadelphia last year for treatment for a spinal cord injury, knows how important it is for people with mobility issues to plan when using public transportation. Though he was impressed with the accessibility of SEPTA’s subways and buses, he saw how quickly regular maintenance issues–a broken elevator at a subway station or construction blocking a pathway–could derail travel plans….

Read the full article on www.gridphilly.com…Published

James Tyack Unlock Philly Buzz

Why Hackers Should Care About Accessibility

One of the main projects worked on at the hackathon was Unlock Philly, a data site centered around accessibility mapping. It has a variety of tools for people with disabilities to smartly commute around the city, including maps of accessible train stations in Philadelphia, an accessible trip planner, data visualizations of the broken accessibility elevators in stations, and videos to help people with anxiety navigate each station remotely.

Read the full article on www.fastcolabs.com…Published

Chris Alfano Bike Route Tracker (CyclePhilly) Buzz

Ride With Purpose: CyclePhilly app strives to make the city a better place to bike

The future of Philadelphia’s bike lanes is in your hands thanks to the new smartphone app CyclePhilly. Launching the app when you start your ride allows CyclePhilly to track your route–whether it’s your morning commute or just a leisurely weekend ride. The app then collates your data with that of other users, which, according to CyclePhilly founder Corey Acri, makes “Philly a better place to bike” by using biking habits to inform future bicycle infrastructure planning.

Read the full article on www.gridphilly.com…Published

Lauren Ancona SDP Online Budget Visualization Buzz

Visualize the Philadelphia School District’s $3.1B budget with this tool

Visualize the Philadelphia School District‘s budget with a tool built by local civic hackers Chris Alfano and Lauren Ancona.

The pair built the visualization, which shows the District’s 2014 budget and proposed 2015 budget, at this month’s EdTech Hackathon with budget data the District released ahead of the event. District representatives said they hoped technologists would use the data to build tools that could increase transparency by making the budget easier to understand.

Read the full article on technical.ly…Published

Chris Alfano GreenSTEM Network Buzz

Why this hackathon project is still growing 18 months later

greenSTEMnetwork, a soil-monitoring kit designed to teach students about STEM, started like many other hackathon projects do. Someone had an idea, pitched it at a hackathon and found a team of developers to work on it.

But instead of fizzling out and losing steam after the hackathon ended, like most projects do, the team continued to work on greenSTEM for a year and a half, up until it was ready to ship. Matthew Fritch, the Water Department environmental engineer who originally presented the idea at the February 2013 TechCamp hackathon, which, full disclosure, Technical.ly Philly organized with the U.S. State Department and dev firm Jarvus, plans to install the kits at four public schools next week.

So what made greenSTEM different?

Read the full article on technical.ly…Published

Corey Acri Bike Route Tracker (CyclePhilly) Buzz

MAPS: An Early Look at Where the CyclePhilly App Says We Need Bike Lanes

A new Census report came out yesterday showing that bicycling is the fastest-growing mode of transportation for commuters in Philadelphia.

Two percent of workers in Philly biked to work between 2008 and 2012, which is low in absolute terms, but more than double the 0.9 percent number from the 2000 Census. The percentage of people walking to work fell from 9.1 percent in 2000 to 8.6 percent for 2008 to 2012. One explanation might be that as the city has installed more separated cycling infrastructure, more people have taken to biking instead of walking.

A more pessimistic take on the walking numbers might be that more people are working in the suburbs than commuting from the outer neighborhoods into Center City.

One interesting finding from the national data was that the number of male cyclists was almost double the number of female cyclists. Studies show that women are more comfortable cycling on separated bike lanes than in mixed-traffic, so if America’s Number One Green City wants the bike commuting rates to keep growing, city politicians are going to have to get behind more protected bike lanes.

Luckily, a new tool from Code for Philly points the way forward.

Developed in partnership with the City of Philadelphia, DVRPC, SEPTA, and the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, the CyclePhilly smartphone app allows cyclists to record their bicycle trips and compare their routes to other cyclists on an interactive map.

Read the full article on thisoldcity.com…Published

Chris Alfano Bike Route Tracker (CyclePhilly) Buzz

New CyclePhilly App Aims to Help Plan Better Bike Lanes

The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia posted today about a new free app for Philly cyclists called CyclePhilly. Its goal: to record trip data to help city planners get a better handle on where bike trips take place and how to better accommodate them. Meaning? With enough buy-in from Philly cyclists, the app’s data could be used to pave the way for new and better bike lanes down the line.

Read the full article on www.phillymag.com…Published

Chris Alfano Bike Route Tracker (CyclePhilly) Buzz

CyclePhilly App Launches

Calling all cyclists with smart phones! With a new app called CyclePhilly, you can record and report your biking routes, travel times, and trip purposes. The aggregate data, which will include a map showing your and other participants’ rides, will help planning agencies and their partners improve area bike infrastructure.

Read the full article on phillymotu.wordpress.com…Published

Corey Acri Bike Route Tracker (CyclePhilly) Buzz

New Cycle Philly Mobile App Helps You Help Us Help You Ride Better

One of the challenges of the better bicycling game is figuring out where people ride. We conduct our annual bike counts, and organizations like DVRPC can put down counters on select streets, but these give us snapshots at best. Philadelphians take thousands of bike trips a day, and if we knew where, when, and why folks were riding, planners could use that information to design better streets and connect our trails.

Now a cadre of volunteer Code for Philly developers have created a mobile app that attempts to fill in this gap in our knowledge. The Cycle Philly App is out of beta and available for download for Apple and Android.

Read the full article on bicyclecoalition.org…Published

Chris Alfano Bike Route Tracker (CyclePhilly) Buzz

CyclePhilly hopes to record biking patterns to help plan bike lanes

Developed by local civic hackers at Code for Philly, in conjunction with the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, the idea of having community cyclists crowd source their bike routes for planning authorities first originated in San Francisco, but this is the first attempt to record Philadelphia bike patterns, despite the city having the highest rate of cyclists per capita of the nation’s 10 biggest cities.

Read the full article on technical.ly…Published

Chris Alfano GreenSTEM Network Buzz

CityPaper: How the Water Dept. and civic hackers are helping student gardens go high tech

GreenSTEM made the cover of this week’s CityPaper:

For more than a year, Fritch has been developing a soil-monitoring kit with a volunteer group of civic hackers. In a few weeks, the first batch of greenSTEM Network devices will be introduced to four public schools – Nebinger, Greenfield, Cook-Wissahickon and the Science Leadership Academy’s Beeber campus – and he’s doing a few last-minute tests on something he essentially built from scratch.

Read the full article on citypaper.net…Published

Chris Alfano Clean Air Council's Open Climate Tracker Buzz

Guardian: How open data is being used to hack climate change

Open data campaigners are hoping for an announcement from the Environment Agency in the coming weeks about opening its core flood data. But waiting for governments to open their data troves is not the only way to get your hands on it. In Philadelphia, in the US state of Pennsylvania, a group of ‘civic hackers’ going under the name Code for Philly have decided to take the collection of climate data into their own hands.

Read the full article on www.theguardian.com…Published

Chris Alfano Open Access Philly website Buzz

Technical.ly Philly: Who built OpenAccessPHL’s new website

The group’s old website hadn’t been updated much since its launch in 2011. When Sarah Johnson heard that at an OpenAccessPHL meeting, she offered to help. Johnson, a Girl Develop It teacher, has been building the website at the weekly Code for Philly meetups along with Nnena Odim and Karin Brown, whom she teamed up with at during a Girl Develop It/Code for Philly joint meetup.

Read the full article on technical.ly…Published

Chris Alfano Unlock Philly Buzz

Technical.ly Philly: Use this app to find wheelchair-accessible SEPTA stations

The elevator at SEPTA’s 8th and Market station didn’t work for more than a month.

Civic hacker James Tyack noticed.

Tyack, a software developer at King of Prussia-based Health Market Science, pays attention to accessibility issues, as NBC10 reported. It’s why he built Unlock Philly, an app that shows the SEPTA subway and high-speed line stops that are wheelchair-accessible and have elevators.

Read the full article on technical.ly…Published

Chris Alfano Unlock Philly Buzz

Elevating Accessibility on Mass Transit

Hoping to give people who rely escalators and elevators to get in and out of stations a better picture of the accessibility issues they’re facing, Tyack created an app called Unlock Philly.

Available through web browsers on computers and smartphones, the app automatically culls together accessibility information at SEPTA rail stations — including issues like broken elevators — onto an easy-to-read map. That data comes from SEPTA’s website.

Read the full article on www.nbcphiladelphia.com…Published

Chris Alfano Clean Air Council's Open Climate Tracker Buzz

White House features Open Climate Tracker in fact sheet on President's Climate Data Iniative

Under the heading Private Sector Commitments:

Code for Philly: Using City Buses to Help Monitor Local Climate Change-Related Pollution. Code for Philly, Code for America’s Philadelphia Brigade, is announcing the development of a new mobile sensor network they aim to run on city buses to gather temperature and pollution data across the city, allowing researchers to track the effects of climate change on and its pollutants in areas across an entire city. This data will be combined with OpenTreeMaps, a platform for crowdsourced tree inventory and urban forestry analysis, to determine the value of trees in combating climate change. The data will also be openly available so developers can incorporate and convey information on local pollution and heat levels in real time to citizens.

Read the full article on www.whitehouse.gov…Published

Chris Alfano Mapping construction permits over time Buzz

Gentrifying Philly: This map shows neighborhoods undergoing change

Can new construction point to a neighborhood’s revitalization?

That’s what Jim Smiley, civic hacker and also Technical.ly’s contributing web editor, wondered as he made Gentrifying Philly, a map (with, you might say, a slightly loaded name) that shows which neighborhoods had the biggest jumps, as well as drops, in construction from 2012 or 2013.

Read the full article on technical.ly…Published

Chris Alfano Philly Flu Shot Map Buzz

How Technology Can Fight the Flu

Several weeks after being implemented in Chicago, Flu Shots — which Kompare made freely available on the code sharing site GitHub — was “forked” and implemented in Boston. Then in Philadelphia. And now in San Francisco. In each successive instance where it was implemented, local developers used data obtained from the new host city’s public health agency. What started out as a notable civic app for its high profile use in Chicago went on to become a prime example of the potential impact of civic software development and how important it is for cities to open up their data.

Read the full article on www.huffingtonpost.com…Published

Chris Alfano Hackathons Buzz

10 projects from third annual Apps for Philly Transit hackathon

Ten teams and more then 40 participants took to the 3rd Ward makerspace in Kensington last weekend to compete in the third annual Apps for Philly Transit hackathon.

It was the first time the hackathon, led by Northern Liberties web firm Jarvus, took a wider transit look than just SEPTA. Find results from last year here and the 2011 Apps for SEPTA here.

Read the full article on technical.ly…Published

Joshua Meyer Clean Air Council's Open Climate Tracker Buzz

10 projects from third annual Apps for Philly Transit hackathon

Philly Transit’s third place finisher was “Septa Climate Tracker.” The app functions as a climate tracker, which the developers are hoping to mass produce, that would be attached to Septa buses as they made their rounds of the city. The trackers would collect and show on the app climate and temperature change as well as pollutant levels all in real time.

Read the full article on technical.ly…Published

Chris Alfano Hackathons Buzz

Hackathon for transit apps coming soon

If you have an idea for improving transportation in Philadelphia that can be turned into an app, there’s an upcoming event for you.

It’s a weekend-long hackathon that starts with an idea session on Friday evening and ends with a demo session from 4 pm - 5 pm Sunday Sept. 22.

The event is a follow-up to the Apps for SEPTA hackathons of the past two years and will be held at 3rd Ward Philadelphia in Northern Liberties.

The organizers are Code for Philly, Jarvus Innovations and Code for America. They hope to have information about data sources from a variety of transportation organizations that coders can tap into for their apps, either by themselves or in combination with each other and data from SEPTA.

Read the full article on www.bizjournals.com…Published

Chris Alfano Hackathons Buzz

Apps for Septa: VagueRouter, an interactive transit planner, takes first place [VIDEO]

Nearly a dozen small teams launched projects dedicated to improving SEPTA service during the second annual Apps for SEPTA hackathon earlier this month.

The event, hosted by Devnuts in Northern Liberties and in partnership with the transit agency, introduced a variety of applications, including one featuring an interactive way to browse transit lines, a simulator for SEPTA staff to test changes in train and bus schedules and a Foursquare app that allows users to see upcoming trains as soon as they check-in to a station.

Read the full article on technical.ly…Published

Chris Alfano Hackathons Buzz

SEPTA sets a good example for open government, seriously

We never thought we’d be saying this, but maybe more state and city agencies should be like SEPTA.

SEPTA, a quasi-public state agency, participated in the SEPTA “hackathon” this weekend, where software developers tried to make helpful applications related to the transportation system. And when we say SEPTA participated, we mean participated: Mark Headd, a Voxeo Labs developer and organizer of the event, said the agency not only gave geeks ready-to-use data, but actually showed up at the event this weekend.

“I’ve never been to a hackathon where the agency or organization that’s the subject, if you will, was physically present and working with developers,” he said.

Read the full article on www.philly.com…Published

Chris Alfano Hackathons Buzz

Apps for SEPTA hackathon features new data sources and mass transit projects [VIDEO]

All told, more than 30 participants took place on at least eight teams, though other side projects and deviations were shared as is often the case. At least six officials from the SEPTA emerging technologies team were on hand throughout the two-day event. In addition to a half dozen small projects to make SEPTA more rider friendly, the transit agency announcedit had opened up a dozen new data sources, as documented on a SEPTA URL including the word ‘hackathon,’ an innovation itself.

“I have never seen a city agency be this supportive and this present at a hackathon,” said Mark Headd, the Voxeo Labs developer who organized the event with web development firm Jarvus, which operates Devnuts and Technically Philly recently profiled. “So it’s no surprise we saw so many strong, viable products come out of it.”

Read the full article on technical.ly…Published

Chris Alfano Hackathons Buzz

Jeff Gelles: Real-Time Data

SEPTA hopes to join the burgeoning movement this weekend. With Devnuts, a self-described “hackerspace” in Northern Liberties, the transit agency is cosponsoring a “hackathon” aimed at quickly producing apps that utilize SEPTA’s wealth of real-time operational data.

About 25 to 30 people are expected, and you don’t need to be a software geek to participate, says Mark Headd, a Wilmington resident who has worked both sides of the government-business divide. Headd once advised Delaware’s governor on information technology. Now he’s a developer for a Florida company, Voxeo, and has helped organize half a dozen hackathons here and elsewhere.

Read the full article on articles.philly.com…Published