Entrepreneurs develop apps using city data

February 12, 2011|By Jessica Anderson, The Baltimore Sun

An app that maps crimes in a neighborhood and a system that provides text alerts when you get a parking ticket were just some of the ideas inspired by an informal tech entrepreneurial get-together held Saturday in response to the city's OpenBaltimore data initiative.

The group of about 30, MacBook Pros in tow, met at "Civic Hack Day" at the Emerging Technology Center in Canton to collaborate and discuss the various web application projects. Many included ways to find uses for data released for the first time by the city last month.

"It's a way of taking that data and seeing what we can do with it," said Mike Brenner, web designer with Sunrise Design in Baltimore, who created the event. He said he hopes the event will encourage the city to sponsor an open data app contest as other cities have done, to further the open data initiative.

Although many applauded the city's effort to release data, several said they'd like to see more and even have more real-time data.

David Troy said the city's release of data is "a good first step," but "they need to add more," adding that the data needs to be updated.

He was working to create a visual for LinkedIn connections between professionals in Baltimore and Annapolis to show different networks and how they relate, and possibly in the future, show how those relationships evolve.

Some of Brenner's ideas included applications that would encourage users to input their own real-time information to show what streets have been plowed.


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