August 29, 2013 | by

A Call for Local, Open Data

Open DataThis past May, President Obama issued an executive order requiring that going forward, any data generated by the federal government must be made available to the public in open, machine-readable formats. And last week, White House officials announced expanded technical guidance to help agencies make even more data accessible to the public.

The steps that the federal government has taken in opening up its data are a good start—but it’s only a start. As former Speaker Tip O’Neill famously said, “all politics is local.” In order for all citizens to truly benefit from open data, every city, county, and state needs to make their data more accessible. We’ve seen what happens when they do.

There have been a ton of incredible civic tools that have been made possible because of local open data efforts. Earlier this year, Contra Costa County in California launched the PulsePoint mobile application. The app notifies smartphone users who are trained in CPR when someone nearby may be in need of the lifesaving procedure.

Another great app out of Boston is the Adopt-a-Hydrant mobile application. The app maps out where fire hydrants are all throughout the city, so volunteers can help dig them out of the snow during the winter. This saves firefighters wasting valuable time hunting for these hydrants during fires. And what’s great about the app is it could work anywhere in the country, provided cities make their data accessible.

This past June, my company, Appallicious launched the Neighborhood Score app with San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee at the US Conference of Mayors (USCM) in Las Vegas. This one-of-a-kind app provides an overall health and sustainability score, block-by-block for every neighborhood in the city of San Francisco. Neighborhood Score uses local, state, and federal data sets to allow residents to see how their neighborhoods rank in everything from public safety, to quality of schools, crime rates, air quality, and much more.

We must go local with open data.

Read the full story by Yo Yoshida at Techwire.net

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August 24, 2013 | by

Mobile innovations for emergency response highlighted at Brookings event

BrookingsPanelRPGovernment should form public-private partnerships to incorporate new mobile technologies into emergency response, said panelists at a Brookings Institution event in July.

“Government’s got to create the environment for these new technologies…to ensure the safety of the public or to allow the public to ensure its own safety,” said Jamie Barnett, a former head of the Federal Communications Commission’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau. “There’s so many out there that need to be discovered and found.”

Private companies can build on top of platforms such as GPS and the forthcoming FirstNet system, but they can’t provide the level of resources that government can to lay the initial foundation, said Richard Price, a former fire chief in Contra Costa County, Calif. Price is now president of the nonprofit PulsePoint Foundation, whose mobile application lets individuals who can perform CPR receive notifications if someone nearby is having a cardiac arrest.

The app’s users may be close to the patient and able to provide care while traditional first responders are still en route. Plus, many of them are in fact off-duty first responders, Price said. The app also directs users to the nearest portable defibrillator.

Price added, “It kind of redefines what it means to be a witnessed arrest,” a heart attack seen by a bystander who knows CPR. “You only have to be nearby now, not at the exact right place at the exact right time, so the odds are much greater.”

Suzy DeFrancis, the chief public affairs officer at the American Red Cross, detailed some of what her organization has learned incorporating social media into its response efforts.

Read more at FierceMobileGovernment.

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February 9, 2013 | by

Contra Costa Fire Districts Launch Life-Saving Mobile App

CCC Fire Agency LogosA new cellphone app launched by fire departments throughout Contra Costa County this week is designed to give everyday citizens a chance to save lives.

The PulsePoint app notifies smartphone users who are trained in CPR and willing to respond to emergencies when someone nearby is suffering a cardiac emergency and may require CPR.

Watch PulsePoint’s video

With the help of the app, trained people in close proximity to a possible cardiac emergency can begin life-saving measures that may stabilize a heart attack victim while waiting for emergency responders to arrive, according to Contra Costa County Fire Protection District Fire Marshal Lewis Broschard.

Users of the app can check their phones to see the exact location of a reported cardiac emergency and how far arriving emergency responders are from that location at any given time.

“The deployment of the PulsePoint app is the next step in developing a comprehensive network of life-saving efforts that includes fire department first responders, ambulance transport providers, the placement of publicly accessible AEDs, hospital emergency departments and members of the public who are trained in CPR,” said Contra Costa County Fire Protection District Chief Daryl Louder.

Read the full article by Bay City News at Walnut Creek Patch.

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