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NC DataPalooza Finale is September 21

Raleigh, NC – The six month long NC Datapalooza competition is coming to a close on September 21, 2015. The competition started on May 16th with a day-long TechJam. Teams from TechJam, teams from CityCamp NC and others entered into the competition. Last week there was a pitch day and 3 teams were selected for a 30 day sprint prior to the final pitch day on September 21st.

NC Datapalooza Finalists

  • Open 511 – Automate exchange of road closure information from government (and possibly individual reporters) back to navigation systems such as Waze and Google Maps.
  • Bernie Sez – The objective is to create more transparency in our judicial system.
  • Points of Note – Building off the CityCamp NC 2015 winning proposal.

Besides seeing the pitches and hearing from distinguished judges and panelists the event will also feature remarks from Rob Burns, CEO of Predictify.me and a Keynote Speaker – Lee Congdon, CIO at Red Hat.

NC Datapalooza Finale Details

  • What: Join us on September 21st for the third annual NC DataPalooza Finale!
  • Where: Red Hat Annex, 190 East Davie Street, Raleigh, NC 27601
  • When: Monday, September 21, 2015 from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM (EDT)
  • Why: NC DataPalooza is a regional open-data competition that connects local entrepreneurs with relevant, clean data drawn from national, state, and local resources to develop applications and solutions that catalyze positive community and economic impact.
  • NC DataPalooza Website
  • NC Datapalooza Final Event Registration

Previous Articles on NC Datapalooza


Disclosure: Tech Tank Managing Partner Ian Henshaw is a member of the NC Datapalooza finalist team, Open511.

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NC Datapalooza Kicks Off on May 16

Durham, NC – NC Datapalooza kicks off on May 16th with the NC Datapalooza DataJam. This is the third year of NC Datapalooza, an open-data startup competition to catalyze positive community and economic impact.

What is Datapalooza?

In 2009 Todd Park was appointed CTO of the of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). At HHS, Park launched the Community Health Data Initiative, a developer conference and showcase to encourage the development of innovative healthcare applications using open government data – this event became Health Datapalooza and has grown to over 2000 attendees. The White House has grown the Datapalooza brand to include many other areas than just health.

In 2013, leaders in Raleigh including, Christopher Gergen, Jason Widen and Zach Ambrose brought the Datapalooza concept to Raleigh in support of the Innovate Raleigh initiative. NC Datapalooza is a 6 month-long competition to develop new economic activity through the use of open data.

DataJam Details

  • What: NC Datapalooza DataJam – Creating innovation through open data
  • Where: American Underground @Main, 201 W. Main Street, Durham, NC 27701
  • When: Saturday, May 16, 2015 from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM (EDT)
  • Why: A competition to catalyze positive community and economic impact
  • 2015 Datapalooza themes: Public Safety, Health, and Economic Development
  • NC Datapalooza DataJam Registration site
  • NC Datapalooza Website

DataJam Agenda

  • 8-8:30am: Check-in and coffee + light breakfast
  • 8:30-9:00am: Intro to the Competition
  • 9:00-10:00am: Ideation session moderated by data experts
  • 10:00-11:00am: Idea presentation and team formation
  • 11:00am-3:00pm: A hackathon for attendees to work on teams around their ideas (lunch will be served during this time, as well)
  • 3:00-5:00pm: Pitches and feedback session with a panel of judges, plus a Panel Discussion from experts in public safety, health, and economic development

Previous Articles on NC Datapalooza

Open Data Portals in NC

Open Data Portals in NC

Cary, NC – The open data movement is gaining traction in North Carolina. This month both the Durham City/County portal and the Wake County portal have come on line. Here is a summary of the open data portals currently in operation in North Carolina.

Asheville
Asheville was the first city in North Carolina with an open data portal. The portal was developed in 2012 in support of Asheville’s first Open Data Day. The Asheville portal is powered by Azavea, a B-Corporation out of Philadelphia that specializes in the creation of geographic web and mobile software.

Cary
Cary put up an open data site in support of Cary Open Data Day in 2013. This site consisted of 6 datasets in .csv format and was kept updated for some time following the event. The site is no longer active but we understand that Cary is undertaking an open data program soon so we will wait to see what portal Cary uses.

  • http://data.CaryNC.gov

Charlotte
Charlotte launched their open data portal in late 2014 in conjunction with their Code for America Fellowship program. The Charlotte portal is powered by ESRI, a US company providing geospacial mapping tools.

Durham City and Durham County
Durham City and Durham County released their open data portal in time for Triangle Open Data Day 2015. The Durham portal is powered by OpenDataSoft, a French company providing open data portals.

Raleigh
Raleigh launched their open data portal early 2013 which has been recognized with a 2013 Web 2.0 Award from the Public Technology Institute (PTI). The Raleigh open data portal is powered by Socrata, a US company that provides open data portals.

Wake County
Wake County has just released a Beta open data portal and is looking for public feedback. The Wake County portal is powered by ESRI, a US company providing geospacial mapping tools.

Open NC
Open-NC.org is a catalog of digital public data created by state and local governments in North Carolina. It was created by Ryan Thornburg, an Associate Professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with funding from a Knight Foundation News Challenge grant.

NC Datapalooza
NC Datapalooza is a 6 month long open data competition in NC with 2015 being the third year of this program. The NC Datapalooza open data portal is powered by Socrata, a US company that provides open data portals.

Open Data Portal Location Visualizations

We wanted to give our readers some idea of the power of embedding visualizations into their stories. First we created a simple .csv file that included the pertinent data about the open data portals in NC. We used the geocordinates from GeoHack. Since the writer has access to a Socrata and OpenDataSoft portal, the csv file was uploaded to the portals and the resulting visualizations were embedded in this post.

Changes to the underlying data set in the portal will be immediately available to the visualizations on your post. This means that your visualization will always be current and there will be no need to republish based on updated information. Of course if you want a snapshot in time you can always embed a screen shot of the visualization.

Socrata

OpenDataSoft

Previous Articles on Open Data


Disclosure: The writer is an organizer of NC Datapalooza (which has a full Socrata portal) and a Brigade Captain of Code for Cary (which has a full OpenDataSoft Portal as well as a brigade level Socrata portal)

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Gov Tech For Winter Conditions

Raleigh, NC – As the state is suffering under wintry conditions it is a good time to review the available tech options to assist you. North Carolina has developed several web and mobile sites to aid in navigating winter conditions.

In addition to web and mobile apps, we know that a strong social media plan is not only important for daily two-way communication with citizens, but is a vital part of emergency planning and preparedness. In fact in Governor Pat McCrory’s press conference this morning, he mentioned that NC DOT Secretary Tony Tata had reported that social media had helped to get information quickly as to where the slick spots were across the state.

Real-time weather and road conditions and shelter openings, as well as winter safety tips, can be found on the free ReadyNC mobile app or on line at www.readync.org web site.

Travelers are urged to call 511 or go to www.ncdot.org for up to date roadway conditions. Motorists are reminded to only use 911 for emergencies so those lines are not overloaded with non-emergency calls.

Ready NC Website

TIMS

The N.C. Department of Transportation’s Traveler Information Management System (TIMS) lets commuters check road and weather conditions in real-time from their computers and smartphones any time, anywhere. The goal of TIMS is to help drivers “know before you go.”

Previous Tech Tank Articles on NC Tech

NC DOT Embraces Tech

NC DOT Embraces Technology

Raleigh, NC – Yesterday I got to try out the prototype for the new NC DOT drivers license renewal kiosk – see the picture above. I was attending a meeting of the Raleigh Code for America Brigade at the NC Innovation Center (iCenter) and noticed the kiosk. I asked Erik Ross, the Chief Digital Officer for the State of North Carolina, who was also attending the meeting about the kiosk and Erik took me through a demonstration of the new Tech.

NC DOT Temporary DL/ID

NC DOT Temporary Drivers License / ID

Renewal Kiosk Process

The process of renewal was very quick and easy with the kiosk. Your drivers license renewal is driven by a touch screen monitor which quickly steps you through the process. A bar code reader takes the information from your old ID and a card swipe takes your payment. When it is time for your new picture, you are directed back to some feet stickers on the floor and a countdown clock lets you get ready. Don’t like the picture and you can take it again. That and the process lasting a couple of minutes will make this an easy adoption for most people.

You get a temporary receipt (see image at right) and wait for your new ID to arrive in the mail. Look for this new technology coming to your area soon!

About the iCenter

On October 10, 2013, Governor McCrory opened the North Carolina Innovation Center to identify challenges, create solutions and transform the way state government delivers products and services. The iCenter is a working lab in downtown Raleigh where state employees, students, agency Chief Information Officers, private industry, and citizens collaborate on information technology solutions.

Previous Articles on NC Government

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Top 3 Teams Selected for NC Datapalooza

Raleigh, NC –  NC Datapalooza has announced the Top 3 teams making it into their 30-day accelerator. This year, NC Datapalooza is focusing on innovation through open data in the health vertical.

Top 3 Teams

Here are the teams along with a short description of their business idea.

  • LocalMedAdvisor: Our goal is to change the way patients select physicians and healthcare facilities, using Medicare billing data, insurance plan trends, customer reviews, and other data sources.
  • FreeWheeling NC: Crowdsourced bike routes based on real-time GPS/rider feedback in order to influence public policy, aid users with optimal results, and promote biking as transportation.
  • Stone Soup: A platform to help those who need food, or those with food to donate, find food pantries in their area. Individuals in need can also register to get alerts when food is available. Food pantries can also register so they can keep their information up to date.

The teams now have 30 days in an accelerator with mentors provided by the Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network.

NC Datapalooza Final Event

The final NC Datapalooza event will be on Friday, September 12th, from 9-11 A.M.  (EDT) at the Red Hat Tower in Raleigh, NC. The teams will present to a panel of judges to see which team will win the NC Datapalooza competition. Register soon for the final event as the Early bird rates end on August 31st.

NC Datapalooza Process

NC Datapalooza runs for about 6 months. Here is the schedule for 2014:

  • Open Data Bootcamp – April 24, 2014
  • DataJam Open Data Startup Weekend – May 16-18, 2014
  • Team Pitches – August 11, 2014
  • Accelerator for Top 3 teams – August/September
  • Final Event – September 12, 2014

Previous Articles on NC Datapalooza


Disclosure: As CEO for the Open Data Institute of North Carolina, I am a judge for the final presentations on September 12. While I have been active as an organizer of NC Datapalooza and lead the efforts of our Data Tiger Team, I have not seen any progress of the teams since the DataJam Startup Weekend in May.

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NC Launches New App

Raleigh, NC – On January 17, 2014, a new mobile application was launched to help North Carolinians prepare for everything from minor traffic emergencies to severe storms on a daily basis. The app, ReadyNC, is free and available for iPhones and Android devices.

Ready NC App Screen ShotThe new app provides users with:

  • real-time traffic and weather information
  • critical information on how to be safe during different hazardous events
  • real-time information about opened shelters for evacuees (including addresses, capacity, directions and if the shelter is pet-friendly)
  • real-time updates on flood levels of major nearby creeks and rivers
  • phone numbers and links to all North Carolina power companies to report outages
  • basic instructions on how to develop emergency plans and what to put in your emergency supplies kit
  • real-time information on which counties have issued evacuation orders
  • contact numbers and links to websites for those who need help recovering from a disaster
  • direct links to the ReadyNC.org and NCDPS.gov websites [North Carolina Department of Public Safety] and social media accounts

The information that the ReadyNC app provides users is not new but has been available on the ReadyNC Website since 2006. With the rapid adoption of mobile devices, North Carolina has decided to provide the information in a form convenient to many citizens.

ReadyNC Website

In May 2006, in part due to the awareness caused by the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, North Carolina kicked off a public awareness campaign aimed at getting people to take personal responsibility for themselves and their families in emergency situations. The campaign featured a new website – ReadyNC.org – that includes information on how to prepare for any type of emergency as well as information on what type of emergencies occur in North Carolina.

A Local Version of the ReadyNC Website

In August 2011 The N.C. League of Municipalities and the N.C. Association of County Commissioners announced the launch of ReadyNCLocal.org, an emergency management preparedness website. This website is devoted to helping local governments in North Carolina prepare for and recover from disasters of any kind. It was hoped that NCReadyLocal.org would become a “one-stop shop” for information both before and after an emergency occurs.

A Caveat About the ReadyNC App

Be aware that the ReadyNC app does not provide the level of service of existing warning systems. In the Terms of Use of the ReadyNC App, there are the following statements:

  • The application does not replace calling 9-1-1 for emergencies.
  • It should not be used a s a substitute for a weather-alert radio during potentially life-threatening weather conditions, such as tornadoes.
  • NCDPS is not responsible if information that is made available on this app is not accurate, complete or current…

Not withstanding the above caveats, the ReadyNC app provides valuable information in a useful format. What do you think of this app? Would you download the app and use it?

2030 Dashboard Image

Dashboard 2030

Research Triangle, NC – RTI International announced yesterday the release of Dashboard 2030, an online tool to track North Carolina’s progress in economic development, business climate and job growth..

About Dashboard

Dashboard 2030 informs dialogue and catalyzes action to address North Carolina’s economic development challenges and opportunities. It provides independent and objective data on leading indicators of state and business competitiveness. It was created by RTI International and funded by the North Carolina Chamber Foundation, to track progress toward North Carolina Vision 2030 – A Plan for Accelerating Job Growth and Securing North Carolina’s Future.

Dashboard 2013 Design

The guiding principals for development of Dashboard 2013 are:

  • Independence
  • Objectivity
  • Transparency

RTI International was selected for objectivity and independence.  Transparency: The data is provided so that individuals can understand the indicators and perform additional analysis if they want.

A Useful Tool

We hope that this tool will be valuable for policy formation in North Carolina.  Check out Dashboard 2030 and let us know what you think.

Center for Digital Government (CDG) Digital Cities and Digital Counties Surveys

NC Counties 2013 Rank in Digital Counties

Wake County, NC –

Each year the Center for Digital Government (CDG) conducts the Digital Cities and Digital Counties Surveys to chronicle and rank local governments’ use of digital technology to streamline operations and improve service to constituents. The 2012 surveys found that although cities and counties are making great strides in information technology to support areas like economic development and constituent engagement, weaknesses still remain that are ripe for innovation. This Best Practice Guide helps address some of these weaknesses by highlighting the best practices displayed by cities and counties that are managing to move the needle and innovate.

The Center for Digital Government‘s Digital Counties Survey is conducted in partnership with the National Association of Counties (NACo) annually in the spring: March – April. All U.S. counties are invited to participate.

Congratulations to the 2013 Digital Counties Survey Winners!

500,000 or more population category:

150,000-249,999 population category:

Less than 150,000 population category:

Congratulations to all the NC Counties that placed in the Digital Counties Survey ranking!