Sign In

Communications of the ACM

Contributed articles

Open Data and Civic Apps: First-Generation Failures, Second-Generation Improvements


Open Data and Civic Apps, illustration

On his first day in office in 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama signed the "Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government," asking government agencies to make their data open and available to the public.4 The aim was to provide transparency in government and improve provision of services through new technologies developed on the backbone of civic open data.5 Transparency was achieved through a public data catalog that was the most comprehensive at the time, providing such information as real-time crime feeds, school test scores, and air-quality metrics. However, as of May 2010, only one year later, few citizens had make the effort to comb through the more than 272,000 datasets they had been provided.6

Back to Top

Key Insights

ins01.gif

In response, leaders of the open data movement sought to engage code developers to make the information not only more digestible for greater transparency but also incorporate it into applications, services, and businesses that could better serve the public and foster economic growth.


Comments


Spiros Nikolopoulos

Another very intriguing potential for acquiring more context in non-emergency issue reporting applications, is to harvest the opinion of social users and combine this with open data provided by the municipality. Given that a non-trivial number of the submitted issues/suggestions/initiatives maybe of general interest, it may be likely that a relevant discussion is taking place among the users of social networks. Thus, it could be an interesting additional source of information if we could spot the relevant discussions and analyze them with respect to their sentiment or prevailing topics. The analytics component of ImproveMyCity (http://www.improve-my-city.com/) relies on the contextually-rich nature of foursquare data, that are used establish the connection between a certain issue/suggestion/initiative and a set of user contributed discussions in an implicit manner. The foursquare application, apart from checking-in and categorizing a venue, offers also the option of providing tips (i.e. opinions) about a certain venue. Thus, if the issue/suggestion/initiative that has been reported by the citizen can be tightly linked to an existing foursquare venue (e.g. geographical proximity, or explicit reference of the venue name), then the tips that have been contributed by the foursquare users to characterize this venue can be consider to form a set of discussions related to the initial issue/suggestion/initiative. Based on this implicit interlinking we have been able to harvest the opinion of social users by performing sentiment analysis on the venue tips. A prototype version of ImproveMyCity-Analytics that is able to combine in a spatio-temporal setting the issues submitted by citizens, with open governmental data and foursquare data is accessible at http://lganalytics.mklab.iti.gr/.


Displaying 1 comment

Log in to Read the Full Article

Sign In

Sign in using your ACM Web Account username and password to access premium content if you are an ACM member, Communications subscriber or Digital Library subscriber.

Need Access?

Please select one of the options below for access to premium content and features.

Create a Web Account

If you are already an ACM member, Communications subscriber, or Digital Library subscriber, please set up a web account to access premium content on this site.

Join the ACM

Become a member to take full advantage of ACM's outstanding computing information resources, networking opportunities, and other benefits.
  

Subscribe to Communications of the ACM Magazine

Get full access to 50+ years of CACM content and receive the print version of the magazine monthly.

Purchase the Article

Non-members can purchase this article or a copy of the magazine in which it appears.
Sign In for Full Access
» Forgot Password? » Create an ACM Web Account
ACM Resources
Read CACM in a free mobile app!
Access the latest issue, plus archived issues and more
ACM Logo
  • ACM CACM apps available for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch, and Android platforms
  • ACM Digital Library apps available for iOS, Android, and Windows devices
  • Download an app and sign in to it with your ACM Web Account
Find the app for your mobile device
ACM DL Logo