Meetups – a new way to arrange civic activities?

Hackathons, open government discussions, creating ArcGIS for local government are all events that seem to be using a particular technological tool in order to convene people – meetups!  Meetup.com is a social networking website that makes possible offline group meetings.  Users can enter in their zip code to find meetups close to their location.  Usually, these meetups are arranged around a particular topic, event, or interest.  In 2004, they were used to organize people for Howard Dean’s presidential campaign and now is a primary way of organizing for the tea party.

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IBM Smarter Cities – the future of cities?

IBM Smarter Cities focuses on improving “information to make better decisions”, “anticipating and resolving problems proactively”, and the coordination of “resources to operate more efficiently” through advanced analytic solutions usually offered ““cloud computing, analytics, mobility, and social business” in the areas of public safety, health and human services, education, infrastructure, energy, water, and the environment (link).   IBM works with city leaders to “select appropriate analytics programs” and either provides its own or partner’s software for an “annual licensing fee.” (link)

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Gamification – a way to drive participation

Gamification, in short, “integrates game dynamics into your site, service, community, content, or campaign, in order to drive participation” (link).   Game design can include levels, badges, leaderboards, ways to socialize, or rankings in order to incentivize people to want to participate.

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Microtasking – a new way to accomplish big projects

microtasks

Microtasking is using an internet site (such as Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, Crowdflower, Microtask, and others) to crowdsource tasks (usually small) that require human intelligence.  People who participate can be paid or unpaid. Workers are generally paid as contractors.

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Drones Can Save Lives

Amazon has been planning upon the use of drones for delivery for packages to buyers under Amazon Prime Air Service. But at least three other groups have already tried the same technology. Domino’s pizza’s domicopter and Taco Bell’s Tacocopter have so far not succeeded in launching their airborne delivery machines. But the most interesting one is Seattle’s city police department’s experimental drone program to enforce public safety mechanism in a completely new fashion. They purchased two Dragonflyer X-6 helicopter Tech unmanned aerial vehicles in 2010. Neither the city council nor the public knew of the police drone program until 2012.

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Next Generation 911

NG911The current 911 system does not support text or multimedia messaging, and lacks the capability to interconnect with other systems and databases. Imagine how it can be revolutionized with the use of smartphones. The National Emergency Number Association (NENA) is carrying out a movement to move to a next-generation 911 system based on modern internet protocol-based network that can take advantage of capabilities such as text, multimedia and video messaging. Such a network requires interoperatability between different vendors so people would not be locked in with just one vendor.

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Chicago’s SmartData Platform

BrennaBerman_19SmartData Platform is a fascinating tool for accurate and calculated decision making in the city of Chicago through the use of Big Data. Its an opensource initiative which aims at the use of predictive analytics. The first stage of the project is complete. The first tool is called Windygrid, which presents a unified view of operational data for all public safety agencies on a single dashboard. Different kinds of data are displayed in a user-friendly single graphical interface which allows users to make queries and receive automatic updates and alerts.

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