Public Records & The Public Record

This is cool: On Friday, June 1st, during the Government Perspective panel at CityCamp Raleigh 2012, Charles Duncan Pardo at the Raleigh Public Record mentioned to Gail Roper, Raleigh’s CIO, that it’s difficult for the average person to figure out how to file a public records request.  A couple days later, was updated with instructions for making such a request.

CityCamp Raleigh 2012 Recap

CityCamp Raleigh 2012 was a success due to the work of our awesome volunteer staff and the smart people that showed up, shared ideas and formed teams to help improve our city.

What Happened?

On Friday, we heard some great conversations about how opening up code, processes and data can improve life for all of us. Thought leaders spoke about these issues from the public/government perspective as well as from a business perspective. It was awesome to be in the room to hear these great conversations and the moderators did a great job of guiding the discussion. We even got to hear the beginnings of some interesting sharing of ideas between the cities of Raleigh and Cary.

Saturday kicked-off with one-minute presentations pitching ideas for workshops throughout the day. Attendees voted on their favorites and the most-supported topics were assigned to rooms throughout the day. We had 5 sessions with 5 workshops per session. Some of these were educational (What is Open Source?) some were the first meetings of groups that would form around a project in hopes of winning the $5000 prize on Sunday afternoon.

Sunday was for planning and coding. Groups started their work slowly at first, then at a frantic pace as we neared the 3pm presentation deadline. Ten distinct teams with 10 distinct ideas prepared marketing presentations and prototype applications.

At 3pm on Sunday, we gathered to hear 5-minute presentations from the teams followed by a short Q&A, after which the judges sequestered to vote for their favorite idea/project. We graded based on feasibility of the solution, creativity and presentation, and technological execution.

We Have a Winner!

The winning team was made up of CityCamp veterans, and students from a mobile development curriculum at NCSU. Their idea? A Raleigh greenway app called “RGreenway” that uses open data from the city to help you plan a visit to a greenway. The team’s vision for the app includes social features (Which greenway is great for new cyclists? Which one is swamped with strollers?) , integration with SeeClickFix to report issues, and features that’ll alert you to impending weather conditions.

Bury the Lead

My favorite story from the weekend is that CityCamp Raleigh was attended by Mayor Nancy McFarlane and all eight city councillors! Bonner Gaylord was an active part of the planning team, and Councillors Mary-Ann Baldwin and Russ Stevenson and the Mayor joined teams to develop ideas for Sunday’s presentations. Other councillors attended sessions and workshops throughout the weekend. I love how hands-on and committed Raleigh’s leadership is to the cause.

The Event and The Movement

Throughout the year, you’ll be hearing more from CityCamp Raleigh. Amazing things have happened in the past year and we’re continuing to pursue ideas to improve the live of Raleigh citizens through the use of technology. The best way to participate or to keep up with the discussion is to join our Facebook group.