API is a Key Element to Foster Data Based Innovation

  PI First Manifesto This is a well written manifesto from David Thoumas at OpenDataSoft proclaiming that the ODS strategy will always be API [First]. Below I have slightly edited the content written by David. I want to bring attention to the fine work this company does and why I and my company, BaleFire Global have such high regard for what they do: At  OpenDataSoft , David and team are building and operating a cloud based data management platform. This platform is built 'API first'. This means that any feature that can be accessed from the portal is also available as an API call. The portal is itself the first consumer of the API. Available APIs ( source ) include: Dataset catalog APIs (keyword and faceted search of datasets within the catalog). Dataset APIs (search within dataset records, geo clustering of geo dataset records, numerical aggregations of dataset records).        David Thoumas from OpenDataSoft So, not only can one fetch raw data from the portal through API cal


This article is a reprint of a Durham Press Release. A wealth of public data exists, but accessing it can sometimes be time consuming. Now, thanks to a new local government partnership, “open data” in Durham is just months away from becoming a reality. The City of Durham and Durham County Government are embarking on an open data partnership that will lay the groundwork for businesses, non-profits, journalists, universities, and residents to access and use the wealth of public data available between the two government organizations, while becoming even more transparent to the residents of Durham. A relatively new concept according to technology industry analyst Gartner, Inc., “open data” refers to the idea that certain data should be freely available to everyone to use and republish as they wish, without restrictions from copyright, patents or other forms of control. “This is a unique collaborative effort that demonstrates a regional commitment,”


Temple University has discovered a way to eliminate the virus from cells Anti LGBT Protest in San Francisco. Creative Commons License attribution to:  Jenny Mealing The elimination of HIV/AIDS will transform society. It would be a historic moment in medicine and give us a chance to examine ourselves and the history of tolerance toward the disease and those at high risk for contracting HIV. I am part of GenX and graduated from high school in 1985 and from college in 1994. I have lived my entire adult life under the threat of infection from HIV. In the early 1990s I lost several friends to the disease. I had one very harrowing experience in 1990 being tested for HIV and being certain that I was infected. It turns out I was not infected. HIV/AIDS has had such an impact on our culture and how we interact with others. As muc

Don’t Just Make Data Open, Make Open Data Useful!

By Dennis D. McDonald, Ph.D. Introduction Earlier this week in USAID’s Evolving Open Data Culture I applauded that U.S. government agency’s efforts to make its open data useful. In this post a dive a little deeper into the topic of “open data usefulness.” Background I came to my interest in open data by way of a career that has mostly involved technology-related projects and consulting. Major goals have been to make or support products or services that are useful to somebody. For private sector clients this usually involved impacting cost or revenue targets. For government agencies or nonprofits work has focused on objectives that have both quantitative and qualitative aspects. In either case, “usefulness” has meant that the actions taken by people as a result of using the product or service are viewed by them in a beneficial or positive light because it helps them accomplish their objectives. As a result of this perspective I’ve thought it would be shortsighted or incomplete not to


As you can see from the figure, September and November are not far below October. Some readers may wonder why there is a surge in API calls starting in May of 2014. May through October was spent building open source service architectures on Red Hat JBOSS Switch Yard that could mine and automatically append data sets within the Open Raleigh Portal. Open Raleigh uses a responsive web design that is friendly to most handheld devices but the API needs a little help to push data into the portal. The portal itself releases every data set as an API endpoint. This API is a READ only API. Writing some code we can have the Socrata portal allow us to append data sets. Socrata is not alone in the Web/Mobile [First] category. ESRI, CKAN and to some extent, Junar are architected on the same principals. This is not a direct criticism or endorsement of any particular platform. THE CONSEQUENCES OF GETTING IT WRONG Discussing multi-nodal approaches and espousing an API [First] st

Morrisville Councilman Steve Rao: Town Hall Meeting

  Councilman Steve Rao and Family Today, Monday, December 8th at 4:00 PM Morrisville Councilman Steve Rao is hosting his sixth Virtual Town Hall of the year. These innovative events have been used by Councilman Rao throughout the year to keep in touch with citizens in Morrisville and throughout North Carolina and to provide updates and take questions on a variety of topics. The last Virtual Town Hall was on the potential for Open Data to revolutionize government and featured special guest Ian Henshaw of the Open Data Institute. It was attended by people throughout North Carolina and also from the United Kingdom and from India. Today’s event will review what has happened in the Triangle area in the past year and look forward to 2015. These are part of a larger initiative by Councilman Rao to spur innovation in the state by applying the latest technologies to solve our public policy problems. To attend, you must RSVP at the link below and have a computer equipped to log into a Google Han

The Three Phases of Open Data Quality Control

  By Dennis D. McDonald, Ph.D., Introduction In my previous post about open data quality the suggested solutions relate not just to adhering to standards but also to making sure that the processes by which open data are published and maintained are efficiently and effectively managed. In this post I drill down a bit more on that point about the management processes. Three Phases When discussing open data it helps to look at open data projects with tasks divided into at least three related phases: Assessment and planning Data preparation and publishing Ongoing maintenance and support Different tools and processes are relevant to each phase. Each can have an impact on the quality of the data as well as its perceived quality. Phase 1. Assessment and planning Critical to data quality at this first phase of an open data project is an understanding of the "who, where, how, how much, and why" of the data. If the goals of the project include making data f