City Council lists 2010 technology initiatives: open data, apps and a city portal

Seattle mayoral candidate Mike McGinn had better hurry or he’ll need to update his Government 2.0 plan to 3.0. The Seattle City Council today announced 10 technology initiatives for 2010 and a few of them CHS really likes. 1, 8 and 10 — yes, please. We’re guessing that CHS neighbor Phil will appreciate the way #1 is worded.

#9? Well, it’s a nice notion but might be better left to sites like CHS, no?

And #7 is kind of cheating. That was technology committee chair Bruce Harrell’s initiative last year.

Councilmember Bruce Harrell, Chair of the Energy and Technology Committee, today proposed a Government and Technology outline that will optimize the use of technology, resulting in increased transparency, enhanced access to customer service and city information, and improved government effectiveness and efficiency.

The initiatives were developed after reviewing the city’s technology, governmental systems and protocols. The next step involves the Department of Information Technology and the Citizens’ Telecommunications and Technology Advisory Board working with other city departments to provide feedback on the recommendations.

“I am proposing the applications that I believe we should use internally and support externally, both of which can determine the effectiveness of service to our citizens,” said Harrell.

The Seattle Government and Technology outline calls on the city to implement the following in the coming year:

1)      Migrate to a system where publishing and release of city data are in an open format that is more readable and favorable for programming. This allows the public to use city data in the most appropriate way and enhance its original purpose by allowing data collaboration and integration through mashups and semantic web technologies.

2)      Declare an “Apps for Seattle” contest and call upon local web developers to program innovative mobile applications and Internet-based applications using open city data.

3)      Provide service for mobile phone applications that allow residents to report a city complaint such as potholes, graffiti, streetlight outage, or abandoned vehicles.

4)      Use web video conferencing tools for meetings conducted by employees, boards and commissions, resulting in reduced travel time, cost and fuel.

5)      Provide residents with new personal conservation management tools that allow them to maximize their home energy efficiency.

6)      Provide a suite of applications and products that allow residents and businesses to communicate remotely with their security, heating, cooling, and lighting systems.  This will increase consumer utilization and awareness of a smart grid network.

7)      Deploy a “” Public Engagement Portal that consolidates the city’s multiple sign on accounts and provides single sign-on access with features including a customizable interface,  status report checks on problems reported, public polling, and enhanced collaboration with the public using tools such as IdeaScale or Google Moderator.

8)      Maximize the use of technology in reporting, posting, and tracking photos of graffiti and tree inventory on Google Maps or the city’s Geographic Information System (GIS).

9)      Develop a “Wiki” website format for city information that allows online public collaboration, editing and content moderation.

10)     Implement new city-wide software to reduce the volumes of wasted printed pages at the end of print jobs from the Internet.

“These technology initiatives will engage our local high-tech industry and spur entrepreneurs and development of business,” said Councilmember Harrell.  “Now, more than ever, we must embrace the use of new technology as a strategic tool to better communicate with residents, drive innovation and economic development in our local workforce and save money by improving operational efficiencies in governmental systems. I look forward to working with our Citizens’ Telecommunications and Technology Advisory Board to help drive the process of moving forward in 2010.”

Additional information regarding “Apps for Seattle” will soon follow.


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3 thoughts on “City Council lists 2010 technology initiatives: open data, apps and a city portal

  1. I love the wiki idea… The city is responsible for social justice, and I don’t think neighborhood blogs (at the moment) have that in mind. I love CHS and other neighborhood blogs, but it’s clear that poorer neighborhoods are underrepresented online, and we’re unlikely to find details on homeless shelters, Chinese language services, or emergency psychiatric care here (for example).

  2. The mayor and the city council are colleagues, not rivals. ;-) It’s nice to see that Councilmember Harrell’s priorities are nicely aligned with Mike McGinn’s. Hopefully this is one of many areas where the City Council and our next mayor will be able to establish a collaborative relationship based on shared priorities.

  3. Hi, thanks for the open data! My name is Alex Grande and I’m the CEO of Pharaoh, a Seattle-based mobile technology company. We have been experimenting with Seattle’s Open Data since the day it came out. Here’s a simple mobile web app we have made using the data:

    Although it is still in alpha stage development, I wanted to give Seattle Government a chance to see it.

    Thanks again!