Better Portland government through open source apps?

Better Portland government through open source apps?

Credit: Todd Mecklem & CivicApps for Greater Portland

This Creative Commons image is used on the CivicApps Facebook page.

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by Eric Adams

kgw.com

Posted on March 18, 2010 at 9:32 AM

Updated Thursday, Mar 18 at 4:05 PM

Poll:
City supported Google Fiber bid a good idea?

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Civic problem got you frustrated? Mayor Sam Adams hopes you'll build an app for that.

Adams announced the launch of CivicApps, an open source design contest to "showcase regional open data and promote collaboration between citizens and government to create applications ... that address civic issues" to benefit the community at large.

CivicApps was announced just before Portland City Council voted unanimously to support a bid to make Portland a beta test community for the 1-gigabyte-per-second Google Fiber project.

The event has two separate phases. Phase One involves Portland residents submitting their ideas for various "City of Portland" branded applications. The best ideas are sent to Phase Two of the project, which will include two rounds of development to allow as many submissions as possible.

All applications resulting from the event must be licensed as "open source" for anyone else to use, customize or extend to the community.

Here's how Mayor Adams summed up the project: "The foundation of the CivicApps project is the belief that making data more accessible will encourage civic innovation, making the data more useful, and ultimately furthering transparency and democracy in the Portland region."

Portland already has another web app that recently made headlines for being "too successful" - the Transportation Department's pothole mapping app was designed to hasten city response but actually created a backlog, leading to longer wait times, the mayor's office initially reported. More: iPhone pothole app works 'too well'

Need more information? Build an informational app - or check out the project's Twitter or Facebook pages.

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