GOSCON closing notes

Wednesday, October 22, 2008 - 15:08
Well, the two day core program of GOSCON comes to a close this evening, and I'm left with more ideas than I can possibly digest here. Instead of attempting to chronicle every presentation, I'll share some high-level notes that I'll take away from my interactions here. First of all, it's clear that open source software and philosophies have entered the practice of cutting-edge agencies. Take, for example, the work Vivek Kundra has done in Washington, D.C. Vivek's biography is a revelation in itself, but his presentation was probably the most exciting example of open source ideas in action. In short, Vivek has opened public data, collected by the city, so that individuals, vendors, and NGOs can create applications that give citizens access to information. For example, they've created a public innovation competition that gives $20,000 to the developer who produces the best application for public use. He showed an iPhone app that geolocates users, provides them with scores of civic information (public transportation times, crime statistics, etc.), and allows them to use the data however they need. He expects hundreds or thousands of other ideas to come online in the near future. In addition, Washington D.C. has created feeds so that public data can be picked up on different devices and disseminated to those individuals who crave it. It's truly democratizing the data taxpayers fund, and which they need in order to make informed decisions. Look for more news postings with video, photographs, and other reflections on this incredible conference. Thank you for reading.

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Thomas King
OpenSourcery Alum