Data into Dollars: Appallicious Offers Smart Apps and a Bigger Vision for Open Data
Yo Yoshida is a “classic” open data entrepreneur – he understands technology, is business savvy, and he wants to make a positive difference in the world. His San Francisco-based company, Appallicious, designs apps that use open data to solve problems and improve efficiency for municipalities. The key to making these apps work, though, is having cities, counties, or countries offer open data. So, in addition to building his company, Yoshida also spends time advocating that more non-private, public data be made machine-readable and available online.
Yoshida founded Appallicious in 2010. The company now boasts an impressive customer list including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the City and County of San Francisco. Its team is growing quickly, having added a data analyst, new engineer, and a Director of Development and Government Affairs recently. And, not surprisingly, it’s the apps that drive Appallicious’ success. They can be customized quickly by any government agency and they focus on helping governments serve citizens better. Some examples include:
Disaster Assessment and Assistance Dashboard (DAAD)
Designed to support natural disaster recovery efforts, DAAD allows communities and businesses to list their available assets to a marketplace so that federal and local governments can hire locally while rebuilding. Yoshida was quoted in a FEMA blog post saying that part of his motivation for working on DAAD is his hope that San Francisco, the city he loves, will be better prepared to recover from a natural disaster.
Neighborhood Score uses local, state, federal, and private data to help residents to see how neighborhoods rank in terms of public safety, air quality, access to public transportation, and more. Neighborhood Score identifies assets and hazards, such as schools and crime rates, in urban environments and compiles that data into a 100-point rating system for any street. Mayor Ed Lee recently launched the app in San Francisco.
In addition to creating apps, Appallicious offers a platform to help others build them. The Skippit Platform™ is a mobile commerce platform that helps organizations build and manage their own custom mobile apps. For example, a county could generate new revenue through ticketing, reservations, or permitting via mobile devices and the web.
Open Data Advocacy
Besides designing new products with his team, Yoshida stays busy as an advocate for the release of more open data. In a recent GovTech article “Open Data Is a Civil Right” he shared his perspective on what’s needed to grow the open data movement, writing, “Along with other open data advocates, I have been going from city-to-city, county-to-county and state-to-state, trying to get governments and departments to open up their massive amounts of valuable data. Each time one city, or one county, agrees to make their data publicly accessible, I can’t help but think it’s only a drop in the bucket. We need to think bigger.”
Yoshida stays active in the civic hacking community. He attends hackathons around the country and recently joined other civic tech leaders for a meeting with the Director of the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development Kish Rajan about the planned State of California open data portal. Their discussion covered developing open data legislation for the state and an office to support its implementation.
The Appallicious team’s great work continues to receive attention from leaders like California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and San Fransisco Mayor Ed Lee. When unveiling the Neighborhood Score application for his city, Lee said, “Open data policies are a win-win for everyone involved, leading to more efficient government, greater transparency, and better communication between residents and City leaders. I encourage other mayors to learn more about how to make their cities more innovative and benefit from open data policies and partnerships with innovative companies like Appallicious.”