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City living: There's an app for that

Jason Slotkin | Jan. 14, 2013
Inspired by the release of ever larger and more detailed sets of municipal data, citizen-developers are writing apps to ease every aspect of city living, from preschools to parking meters.

In the absence of pervasive online data, Crouch and Galloway mostly have to lobby agencies for the information they needed -- some of which exists only on government computers -- often with mixed results. Sometimes they're accommodated; other times, ignored.

Developers like Crouch and Galloway have piqued the interests of a few city officials. Recently, Tulsa city council member G.T. Bynum and Tulsa CIO Tom Golliver met with developers to discuss a more open data policy. (Due to an unrelated incident, Golliver is currently on paid administrative leave.) The group even drafted a resolution -- similar to Portland's -- to present to the city council, which if approved, would create an open data policy for Tulsa.

Crouch says a draft of the resolution should be presented to the council early next year. Soon after that, Crouch and Galloway hope, Tulsa will have the kind of access to crime, transit and other datasets that techies in San Francisco enjoy. "I think we're demonstrating the potential. It's a really neat movement to be involved in," says Galloway.


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