Civic Tech London is a community of engaged citizens of London interested in better understanding and finding solutions to civic challenges through technology, design and other means.
Government data should be freely available to everyone to use and republish as they wish, without restrictions from copyright, patents or other mechanisms of control.
In the last couple of years a movement has taken hold in countries around the world. It’s a movement that empowers ordinary citizens to take subsets of public data (collected by various levels of government) and to repurpose and mashup the data in new and interesting ways. This type of data is widely referred to as Open Data.
Early in 2010 a number of citizens came together to discuss a number of civic engagement projects in the interest of moving our city forward – one of these initiatives was for the City of London to embrace the Open Data movement.
As a proof of concept, a couple of applications were developed and deployed for public use: one that made public transit information available on BlackBerry devices and one that mashed up restaurant inspection data with Google Maps. The City of London quickly saw the possibilities and began to prepare a report to move an Open Data initiative forward.
- EatSure: A local web design and development firm developed EatSure.ca to demonstrate an alternative method of displaying restaurant inspection data made available by the Middlesex London Health Unit’s Inspection Disclosure Site. Data was obtained by “scraping” data from the front end of the existing site.
- Overnight Parking: In the spring of 2010 the City of London passed a bylaw to allow overnight parking, included in the bylaw was a clause allowing streets to opt out and disallow overnight parking on their streets. A local student plotted the street exemption list on Google Maps to demonstrate a bias against the students of local post-secondary educational institutions.
- London Trash