Picture from Triangle Open Data Day 2014 - pictures by Mitch Amiano

TODD2016 – Keynote and Schedule

Raleigh, NC – The Schedule and Keynote for Triangle Open Data Day 2016 (TODD) have been announced: Read more

Citygram Triangle Logo

Citygram Launches in Research Triangle, NC

Research Triangle, NC – The Code for Cary brigade of Code for America has led the launch of the first regional instance of the civic app Citygram, Citygram Triangle, NC.

What is Citygram?

Citygram is a civic engagement app that takes open data and transforms it into timely, highly localized updates on topics of importance to citizens. It was developed during the 2014 Code for America fellowship program in Charlotte, N.C., and refined through a strong collaboration between the City of Charlotte and the Code for Charlotte brigade. It later won a Code for America Technology Award.

Citygram Triangle launched with the most requested open dataset, crime incident data. Citygram Triangle combines the stream of crime incident data from the Durham open data and Raleigh open data portals along with Cary crime incident data collected by Code for Cary through public records requests and processed on their brigade open data portal.

How Do I Subscribe to Citygram Triangle?

First, bring up the Citygram site in your browser and select “Research Triangle, NC” from the pull down menu of “your city” (https://www.citygram.org/)

Citygram Triangle NC Registration

  1. Select the data stream that you want to be notified of. As of now this is only crime incident data, but additional data streams will be added soon by the Triangle Code for America Brigades.
  2. Enter your address.
  3. Select the city where you live. Note, this step is only to resolve your address. It will not limit your access of data to the city you have selected. If you live on the boundary of an adjoining city, you will receive alerts from both cities.
  4. Select the notification diameter of your request. You will see some information appear below the map of how often you would have been notified in the past week which will give you an idea of how big you want your notification diameter
  5. Select if you want to be notified by text or e-mail.

A very simple process! You will be notified as data is updated in the triangle area open data portals.

What about crime incident data from Apex, Chapel Hill, Morrisville, Wake Forest, etc? When will you be able to be notified of activity in these parts of the Triangle? The answer is that Citygram can only alert you to information that is streamed into the app from open data portals. We would encourage you to discuss this with your elected officials to see if this can become a priority for your town.

Want to See More From Citygram Triangle?

The best way is to attend one or more of the Code for America brigade meetups in the Triangle and get involved. There are brigades in Cary, Durham and Raleigh and one of our ongoing projects will be to add additional datasets to Citygram Triangle.

If you don’t live in the Triangle, please look at joining a brigade nearer to you. There are existing brigades in Asheville, Charlotte, Greensboro, and newly forming brigades in Wilmington and Winston-Salem.

Previous Tech Tank Articles on Code for America and Open Data

All Things Open 2015

All Things Open – A Huge Success!

Raleigh, NC – All Things Open 2015 continues the series of this very popular event in Raleigh, NC with another huge success:

  • Attendance reported at over 1,750.
  • A great lineup of thought leaders in the Open fields.
  • Great networking opportunities.
  • A “Who’s Who” of the vendor community.
  • etc…

If you are not here, I bet you wish you were.

Day 1 was phenomenal and Day 2 looks just as good. This is not a conference where you attend a session because it mildly interests you, this is a conference where you are torn between 2 or 3 options that you really want to attend.

Make sure that All Things Open is on your calendar for next year!

Previous Articles on All Things Open

NC Data4Good

NC Data4Good – Morrisville Nov 7-8

Morrisville, NC – NC Data4Good is a collaboration of Maxpoint, Data Crunch Lab and the Research Triangle Analysts with the United Way of the Greater Triangle to address childhood hunger & food insecurity in Durham, Johnston, Orange and Wake Counties. Make an impact in the community using your skills for social good.

Some of the questions to explore with data are:

  • What influences childhood hunger?
  • What does childhood hunger affect?
  • Where is food available?
  • Where are current providers of fresh and nutritious foods located?
  • Can resources be accessed through public transportation?

NC Data4Good Details

  • What: NC Data4Good
  • When: Saturday, November 7, 2015 from 8am to 5pm and Sunday, November 8, 2015 from 8:30am to 3pm
  • Where: MaxPoint, 3020 Carrington Mill Blvd, Suite 300, Morrisville, NC 27560
  • Why: Give back to the community. Your contribution will make it possible to inform decisions regarding childhood hunger and food insecurity.
  • NC Data4Good Registration Site
NC Emergency Management Hackshop

Emergency Management Hackshop – Wilmington Nov 6-7

Wilmington, NC – The State of North Carolina, UNC Wilmington, US Census Bureau, Presidential Innovation Fellows, ESRI and Waffle.io are teaming up to hold the NC Emergency Management Hackshop in Wilmington on November 6-7, 2015. This is a free two day event for social good, to improve community response during an emergency.

NC Emergency Management Hackshop Details

  • What: NC Emergency Management Hackshop
  • When: Friday, November 6, 2015 from 6pm to 10pm and Saturday, November 7, 2015 from 9am to 7pm
  • Where: UNC Wilmington, Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, 803 S. College Road, Wilmington, NC 28403
  • Why: Help to improve community response during an emergency.
  • NC Emergency Management Hackshop Registration Site

Hackshop History in NC

This is the second Hackshop run in North Carolina. The Hackshop is part hackathon and part lean workshop with a format created by the team at Waffle.io.

In September, the US Census Bureau ran an Open Data Hackshop in Raleigh. Information about that Hackshop can be found in the following Tech Tank Articles:

NC Open Data Hackshop

Open Data HackShop NC Day 2

Raleigh, NC – Open Data Hackshop NC finished up this afternoon at Rally Software. 3 Teams finished the event and did a great job of using the US Census and USDA data. Team ‘NC Connects’ won the day with an app to help connect under served students to available community services.

Open Data Hackshop NC

Open Data Hackshop NC

Open Data Hackshop NC

Team Reconnecting Vets

Open Data Hackshop NC

User Map by Team Carolina

Open Data Hackshop NC

Team NC Connects / School is in Session

Open Data Hackshop NC

Open Data Hackshop NC Winning Team: NC Connects


Previous Articles on Open Data Hackshop NC

NC Open Data Hackshop

Open Data HackShop NC Day 1

Raleigh, NC – Open Data Hackshop NC is underway at Rally Software. Teams have formed and they are well on their way to using US Census data.

OpenData Hackshop NC

OpenData Hackshop NC

OpenData Hackshop NC

OpenData Hackshop NC

OpenData Hackshop NC

OpenData Hackshop NC


Previous Articles on Open Data Hackshop NC

CityCamp NC Collage Picture

CityCamp NC Kicks Off on June 11

Raleigh NC – CityCamp NC, an event to bring citizens, government, businesses and academic communities together to openly innovate and improve life through technology. Focused on local municipalities, CityCamp is international unconference series. Registration is now open!  Students with a valid ID get in free but still need to register. Registered participants will be provided breakfast and lunch on Friday and Saturday. To get involved with CityCamp’s planning or volunteering opportunities, contact Chris Mathews or Jason Hibbets.

Register now as seating is limited!

Thursday, June 11, 2015 | Starting at 6:00 pm

CityCamp will be kicking things off at HQ Raleigh (310 South Harrington Street, Raleigh, NC 27601) with lightning talks and Taste of CityCampNC.

Friday, June 12, 2015 | Starting at 9:00 am

CityCamp will be switching venues to the Wake County Commons Building (4011 Carya Drive, Raleigh, NC 27610) for the unconference, GIS panel, and keynote. This years keynote speaker, Mark Headd, was one of the founding members of Code For America and is currently a Technical Evangelist for Accela, Inc.

Saturday, June 13, 2015 | Starting at 9:00 am

Held at the same venue as Friday’s unconference (the Wake County Commons Building), teams will be given the chance to work on their projects and presentations. Presentations will begin at 3:00 pm and end at 5:00 pm.
Anyone not participating on a team can join the hackathon and work on a number of projects for the community.

CityCamp NC Information

Youth Leadership Cary - Bonus from Technology Tank

Are Business Cards Dead?

Cary, NC – On Friday of last week, I had the opportunity to see the end of the Cary Chamber of Commerce ‘Youth Leadership Cary’ graduation at The Cary. 40 exceptional young men and women had successfully completed the program and had obviously impressed the adults leading this course.

The leader of the event encouraged the students to use this experience as the start of their professional network. My question during the social after the program was “So do all the students now have Linked-In profiles?” Questions had to be asked of the students to see if they knew about Linked-In and if they had profiles, and the answer was ‘no’…

If you are mentoring a Junior or Senior in high school or any college student, they all should have Linked-In profiles now!

Here is the Technology Tank / Cary Innovation Center ‘bonus session’ for the students who were in the Youth Leadership Cary program. I sent this through the chamber to the high school counselors for these 40 students, but many, many more need this advice so please pass it along.

Make Your Linked-In Profile Now!

Linked-In is an invaluable professional networking and contact management tool. Build your profile now and keep adding to it as you progress in your careers.

This is your professional persona, so think school picture, not those fun beach pictures. You are young, so update your picture every few years so that people are not surprised when they meet you (you are still aging quickly). Don’t post jokes, what you ate for lunch or stray thoughts – FaceBook is the place for all that stuff.

Build your resume and keep it current with all of your accomplishments and work history. Ask for recommendations as you go (you don’t have to make them public if you don’t want to…) People search Linked-In all the time and you may be presented with opportunities you never would know about otherwise.

Link to all of the people you have met in this program and keep building your network as you go. Business cards are very important, but by the time you are out of school, there is a high likelihood that most of the people you have met are now working for a different company and so that card is obsolete.

When you make a connection request, always remind the person how you met. No blank connection requests!

Create your Linked-In profile now and make sure you keep your profile up to date. Use the smoke detector battery rule at a minimum, ie. update your profile when the hour changes.

What Do You Think?

We are always interested in best-in-class Technology advice. Please let us know if you think I’m off base or if there is a newer and better way. Cheers!


Disclosure: Linked-In profile of the writer.

Featured image Public Domain from the Town of Cary

Nina Hole's Fire Sculpture Cary NC 9224 from Flickr by bobistraveling

What is Art and How to Find It?

Cary, NC – The Code for Cary Brigade has started working with the Town of Cary Cultural Arts Department and the Cary Visual Art organization (CVA) to look at redeploying the Code for America Public Art Finder App.

Code fro America Public Art Finder AppAt the brigade meeting on February 10th, Denise Dickens, Public Art Coordinator for the Town of Cary and Shawnee Becker of CVA presented what was available in terms of information and existing on-line maps of public art in the Town. We then had a great discussion about what functionality the app should have. The delineation is that Code for Cary can provide an app and functionality but the Town/CVA needs to provide the content.

App Specification Creep?

An interesting part of the discussions were about what users of this app would expect to be able to discover with the app. The Town of Cary has a definition of public art to clarify scope of their activity but art sited before the Town’s Public Arts program started are not part of the town’s catalog.

Should the mural on the side of the Sorrell building be included? What about where art links to the history of the town, like the horse sculpture at SearStone? What about interesting architecture, folk art and historical sites? This is a slippery slope of specification to be sure!
Val Fox Mural from Waymarking.com

What Would You Expect as a User?

This is a very important question to ask in the development of any app, the market analysis, or as Steve Blank would say, “Get Out of the Building” and talk to your customers!

Here are some of the ideas we discussed. Feel free to add some of your own:

  • Only public art as defined by the Town
  • All public art, publicly or privately owned
  • Interesting or classic architecture
  • Folk art
  • Historical sites
  • Ability to ask for an item to be added to the app
  • Ability to engage in discussion about the art (ie. a forum)

Leave your ideas in the comments below this article.

Join the Public Art Finder App Team

If you want to help out with this new and exciting project, please attend any of the upcoming Code for Cary meetings. Code for Cary meets every other Tuesday night at the Cary Innovation Center in the 2nd floor conference room. All are welcome to attend and participate, you do not have to be a coder!

Approximately 30 minutes before the meetings pizza and beer is available courtesy of the generous support from the Code for America national organization. The brigade asks all attendees to sign up on their meetup group so sufficient food can be ordered in advance of the meetings.

Previous Articles on Code for Cary


Disclosure – Tech Tank supports the Code for Cary Brigade with space, leadership and logistical support

Nina Hole’s Fire Sculpture Cary NC 9224 from Flickr by bobistraveling

Val Fox Mural from Waymarking.com