Innovation That Matters

San Francisco showcases city data apps


While the web is disrobing many businesses in the name of transparency, the City of San Francisco is happy to expose itself. A month since the launch of, a public archive of government data, Mayor Gavin Newsom has announced that the site will now showcase applications which manipulate that data to make it more useful and accessible to the city’s residents. Inspired by the success of Apple’s iTunes App Store and Facebook’s open developer platform (60,000 and 350,000 apps respectively), writes Mayor Newsom, San Francisco is encouraging democratic participation by “giving residents the tools to build the kind of government that works for them.” A number of apps are already online, with the new showcase expected to stimulate many more creations. Among those currently available, EcoFinder helps residents find out where their nearest recycling services are located, while Cabspotting—a project by the Exploratorium interactive science museum—displays a real-time map of cab locations in San Francisco. It’s not the first step the tech-centric Bay Area has made towards ‘Gov 2.0’—in June we reported on their Twitter service for civil complaints. But this latest effort could mark the start of a sea-change in the way governments provide public information services. Don’t let your local government miss the boat! Spotted by: Duncan Rickelton



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