Working On-Site at Socrata

I just finished my slide-deck for my presentation to City Council next Tuesday on Raleigh's new open data portal. I have twenty minutes to present 6 months of work and to showcase what I built with the Socrata team last week. Here are some reflections on my time there. Visiting Socrata I went to Seattle to visit my implementation team at Socrata HQ on February 24. I landed in Seattle on Sunday and gave myself a walking tour around the Pioneer Square area that afternoon. Monday I woke up at 3:30 AM local time and started doing my preparation work. My meeting with Kellie was at 1pm. I finished my day to day work and made my way over to Socrata. I met with Saf, Chris Metcalf and several other folks. Saf made sure I understood two things about visiting Socrata: Make yourself at home with coffee, snacks or beverages Follow the recycling bin signage very carefully! Working with Socrata Working with Socrata is like being immersed in all of the open data intiatives world-wide all at once.

FEB 27 Notes from Cary Open Data Day: The Concept of "My Data"

  Recently +Laura James brought up a concept that I have seen floating around. The concept of "My Data" and "Open Data". She wrote on the OKFN blog here: . Now while I was speaking at the Cary Open Data Day during our policy session and gentleman asked me a questions about personal data. This started with my keynote remarks regarding privacy policy and privacy in practice. In my remarks I discussed some of the diagrams used by +David Eaves to explain the difference between personal data and open data. David used wonderful Venn diagrams to show where personal data and open government data intersect. I have provided a link to this great post on personal data here:;postID=706240073538139688news-gun-map-open-vs-personal-data/ This set off a series of questions about how privacy works in the real world, how we

"Open" is a Dialog, Not a Competition

  Venn Diagram for Open Government / Open Data / Open Gov Data from  Nik Garkusha  Via Creative Commons Tomorrow is Cary Open Data Day and I will be speaking about open data, policy and open government at this event. The word "open" and the word "transparency" has been used frequently in writing about open data initiatives. So I am thinking what my remarks will be. I am thinking I would like to talk about how open data and anything "open" is really a dialog or a collaboration. How can a single PSA (Public Sector Agency) be open without collaboration with other PSAs? How can citizens drive "open" without government to provide the data? How can the government alone provide "open" and transparency without knowing what citizens want? Most of what I read about in regards to open data is rarely written by people that actually work in government. I think that is significant and it speaks to my comments in the rest of this posting. I have writt

Town of Cary Passes Open Data Resolution

  Open Data as a Regional Collaboration Yesterday evening Triangle just got its next open data participant. The Town of Cary. I lived in Cary for over a decade and now live next door in Morrisville. I work for the City of Raleigh on its open data initiative. I take a regional collaborative philosophy of open data initiatives and municipalities. Cary, Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill all share the economic engine that is the Research Triangle Park. We also share the collective generated innovation engine of five top universities scattered among the cities of the Triangle. Will Cary seek to be an interoperable player in a Triangle-wide federated regional model? At this time it is hard to tell. The local CfA brigade in Cary sees local transparency as the primary goal of the Cary open data initiative. The Town of Cary has been quiet in discussing any long range strategy or vision for open data from a government perspective. Here is the resolution as passed: A RESOLUTION SUPPORTING THE CARY

Open Data in the US: Navigating the Privacy Minefield

  Open Data and Privacy Policies:  North Carolina How can we be rigorous and thorough and at the same time protect citizen privacy? This is not about Raleigh's open data portal currently under construction. This is about the fractured and ad hoc privacy policies of open data initiatives in the United States. Privacy is complicated. In my conversations with policy folks at the Open Knowledge Foundation several topics around privacy came up. While none of them really solve the privacy issue for open data efforts in the US perhaps there can be work around. We as open data advocates in the US can begin to develop a set of principles. We can police our initiatives in the hope that privacy will one day catch up. Open data initiatives in the United States are not, for the most part, governed by federal law. In a few cases, federal law does have remedies for certain kinds of data (think HIPAA ). Most law affecting privacy happens at the state level which makes a coherent national model of

When Open Data gets Personal

  Patrick and motorcycles. We had good time riding bikes together. Him on his trusty old Honda and me on my trusty old BMW. New Memorial Fund Site Setup Giveforward has been designated as the foudation site for The Partick Arbogast Memorial Scholarship Fund. So an update on a special and personal type of #opendata website dedicated to the Patrick Arbogast Scholarship Fund: I posted this originally to my Facebook account which is strictly for my non-professional contacts. I am not sure how many of my friends are on Google+ and not on Facebook so excuse the cross-post. About Patrick Arbogast  He was not in the media and he was not facing legal problems. He was facing his own internal issues that he was not quick to talk about. Patrick Arbogast was my friend for over 30 years and a rising star in the biostatistics world with an emphasis on holistic medicine. He left his academic job (research professor) at Vanderbilt to take a job as a senior researcher at Kaiser Permanente before takin

The Future of the Open Data Catalog

  This is a wifreframe from the World Bank showing a search interface for their highly respected data catalog. Searchable Data Sets? Check out the #wireframe for a fully searchable data catalog. This is where #opendata needs to head. Citizens do not browse data like kids in a candy store. I have asked about engagement and watched them interact with open data sets and not one non-data geek ever found them interesting. For methodology I chose sets of sets of 3-5 people and just asked them questions and sent them links. These people came from my Facebook groups of friends and do not have a professional connection with me. When I asked them about their browsing patters in general most people used Google Search to find specific information or started with a list of 10 or less "go to" sites. Data sets need to be searchable and queries need to come from Google and index both the data sets themselves and be able to interpret natural language queries before will be mainstream and of i