All posts tagged open government

2 Posts

Scrape the World

There’s no worldwide database of locally elected officials. What if we tried to fix this by creating an adventure to scrape the world in 80 days?

The idea is a mixture between Gumball3000, 500 Startups, and Code for America. We would create teams for each country that people could join to gather (scrape)  that country’s data before the 80 day timer is up. Motorcycle, bike or ride a truck across the country, whatever needs to be done to scrape the data about local governance. Teams upload the data to the site and get points for speed, difficulty, and size. Pictures, videos, and stories add more points too. Winning teams go down in history as having participated in a global internet day of action, similar to the crowdsourced documentary Life in a Day, the International Day of Peace,or 350.org’s global day of action “Moving Planet”, Twestival, or any other of a number of synchronous global events.

A Wired City Versus A Hurricane

My grandma was trapped in mandatory evacuation zone with hurricane Irene fast approaching. As an elderly Russian immigrant, she didn’t have much access to good information about the storm. I rushed to the internet to see what I can find so that I can give her the best advice I can.

Flash back to the earthquake in Haiti and I was part of an exciting example of how technology tools can be used in the face of a disaster. The non-profit I work for, Digital Democracy, had two staff in Port-Au-Prince when the earthquake struck. One of our advisors put up a crisismapping platform, Ushahidi, to help them and others crowdsource messages of help and emergency. SMS, Tweets and Facebook posts were placed on a map by concerned students in Boston so that emergency responders could save lives in Haiti. Thankfully our staff made it back safe, though they were shaken up and our equipment was crushed in their collapsed residence.