Civic Awesome: Open Data In The News For December 5, 2014
Winston Churchill once said “However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.” So paying heed to that sage advice, this week’s Civic Awesome takes a look at results coming from open data and its movement.
Ben Wellington has one goal for his blog, I Quant NY, “to change government policy by using open data” and indeed it is doing just that. The blog is garnering national attention as it tells data-based stories such as determining which states offer the best public housing or where to find a New York City payphone. Some of his analysis has ruffled the feathers of those inside government who accuse Wellington of being a conspiracy theorist of sorts. But others acclaim his efforts, saying “he has real solutions.”
The UK government announced it will build the Alan Turing Centre in London near the renowned British Library. To date 20 universities have applied to participate in the Centre, which will “undertake new research into ways of collecting, organising, and analysing big data.” Although the government had previously pledged £42 million for the Center, its location had not previously been determined.
A team from the University of Queensland (UQ) which developed an app to get real time information about the damage and aftermath of cyclones, floods, or bushfires has been award the prestigious Premier’s Award for Open Data. In addition to sharing natural disaster information, the app could help house hunters find their ideal neighborhood. The prize includes $5,000 and the opportunity to commercialize the app in partnership with the Open Data Institute of Queensland.
One year after kicking off a partnership between the City of Jackson, Michigan and the University of Michigan, presentations of continuing student-developed civic hacking projects will be presented on December 1st at Jackson City Hall. The projects run the full gamut of civic utility — from establishing the first open data program for the city to increasing community support of historic buildings to growing resident appreciation of public art installations.
The Texas Tribune has published a list of the Lone Star State’s highest compensated public employees. The salary data is not open. It was retained through a freedom of information request. Coaches in the University of Texas’ Athletics Department are bringing home the three biggest paychecks, each ranging from $2.6 to $3.8 million each. The other two top 5 paid employees are in the Orthopedic Surgery Department at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.