Friday, July 4, 2014

HSR Real-Time Data Hackathon Announced!

Calling all designers, programmers, city staff, and othercivic-minded problem-solvers looking for a challenge! 

Hamiltonians will be able to know where their bus is starting on July 31st and Open Hamilton is planning a hackathon to build the apps to make it possible.

Our hackathon is schedule for July 25th and you can register here.


Real-Time HSR Open Data now in Alpha

The Hamilton Street Railway is releasing real-time public transit open data to the public on July 31.

Open Hamilton members Joey Coleman, Matt Grande, and Anand Sinha met with the City Manager's Office during the past few months to work with City staff and Council to negotiate access.

Anand and Matt lead Open Hamilton's efforts, presenting to City Council on April 2, 2014.

Their delegation secured clear Council support for open data development, and funding to ensure the release of HSR real-time data.

Councillors Brad Clark and Brian McHattie worked with us to encourage the HSR to release the data, and lead efforts to ensure support from all of City Council for this release.


Limited Developer Access to Alpha Test

Open Hamilton has limited access to real-time open data for development and testing of apps prior to the public launch.

Developers are invited to work with this data to build applications for public release on July 31st.

The only conditions the HSR is attaching to our use of the data is that it be used solely for development (they do not yet have the capacity or stability for public consumption) and developers provide feedback to improve the data.


Development Goals

It is our hope to see apps developed and released for all major mobile platforms in time for the public launch. We also wish to see developers able to build applications for businesses along public transit routes. In other cities, businesses have promoted specials to transit users based upon the amount of time until the next bus.

Imagine, the next time your bus is running 10 minutes late, having the opportunity to grab a quick bite to eat (with a special for transit riders) while staying out of the elements instead of standing outside wondering what's happened to your bus.


Hackathon Day - July 26, 2014

Open Hamilton will host a hackathon day (Free Food!) on July 26 to create applications and submit them to various app stores for public use.

We're working to organize the event, and will announce the venue in the coming week. We're budgetting $5,000 to the event to ensure all participants are well-fed and have prizes available to be won.

Visit our Eventbrite page to register, and help us determine our number as we confirm the event venue.


Why should I join a Hackathon?

This Creative-Commons Licensed Infographic by Code for America will help you decide if you wish to attend:
Poster: Why should I go to a hackathon?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Open Hamilton Applauds City of Hamilton's Announcement of mid-2014 Launch for Transit Open Data

Open Hamilton applauds the announcement by the City of Hamilton that real-time transit data will be available in mid-2014 both on the Hamilton Street Railway website and as open data for the community to build upon.

Open Hamilton looks forward to using the data to build applications for all platforms that will improve our community and encourage more use of public transportation.

We thank Council, City Manager Chris Murray, his staff, and Hamilton's Public Works staff for their work to achieve today's announcement.

HSR announcement

The HSR will launch transit real-time open data "in approximately 6 months" with budget approval, Hamilton's Director of Transit Don Hull told City Council today.

Hull's comments came following Open Hamilton's annual presentation to the City's budget process requesting City Council fund open data implementation.

Open Hamilton is advocating for transit open data to be the top -not only- priority for the City's open data project.


Steps to Transit Open Data

Public Works staff have been working for the past few months to implement open data, following Council's approval of an Open Hamilton endorsed open data policy this summer.

Hull said the delay in releasing real-time open data was due to the HSR having one of the most advance IT systems in transit. Among numerous features, it integrates the GPS units on buses with the payroll system as drivers are paid by the minute under their collective agreement.

Hull stated work is nearly complete to ensure the security of the HSR's internal IT systems, allowing for the release of Open Data.


Transit Open Data Timeline

Don Hull announced the following timeline to City Council today.
  • MacNab Terminal Real-time Displays
    • "Real Time data at the MacNab terminal will be available within a month"
  • Real-time Data on HSR website
    • "Real-time data on the Trip planner web site and on the Buscheck telephone system will be available in approximately 4 months"
  • Transit Open Data
    • "Open Data will be available in approximately 6 months with the approval of the project budget"


Transit to Provide Detailed Roll-out Plan in January

HSR staff will return to Council in January with a detailed implementation roll-out


Open Hamilton to Meet with Transit Staff

Open Hamilton, with the assistance of the City Manager's Office, is arranging a meeting with Transit staff to help create a successful community program as part of the open data plan.

Good Progress in 2013

Hamilton made a lot of progress this year on open data.

Open Data Policy

Council approved one of the best open data policies in Canada. A policy that includes a open data license that is fully based upon the Open Data Commons Public Domain Dedication and License (PDDL).


GIS Datasets

The City released 34 GIS datasets as part of it's first wave of open data. Included in the initial data were some high value GIS datasets such as ward boundaries (Hamilton's escarpment makes creating these boundaries manually very difficult), shoreline data, and roads data that includes centre lines.


More Data Coming Soon

We're working with the City to get more data in the near future. Productive meetings are underway with the City Manager's Office, including a City-supported hackathon.

Watch the blog for details and join the discussion on our Google Group.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Launching Hamilton's Modified Change By Us

Participants gathered in the think|haus lounge to kickoff the event
Two weeks ago, Hamiltonians gathered at think|haus, our local makerspace, and built an alpha version of Change By Us for our city.

Bringing together developers, designers, city leaders, and citizens, the event was a unique partnership that showed local talent can achieve local solutions.

Since our meet-up, the Open Hamilton team has worked to get the project ready for final polish and launch.

Led by the efforts Alex Wagner and James Arlen, the source code of Change By Us has been modified and launched on the OH server.

Our citizen contributors have created a list of improvements and modifications to Change By Us that will enable our city to better measure feedback and suggestions as we all work to improve civic engagement.

On Thursday, we need to finalize local graphics and start the next phase of the project - Hamilton improvements that can be returned to the source code.

The Change By Us project is now in its third phrase of development and we are in a position to build Hamilton's reputation as a locale with a strong web development sector that international powerhouses should local in.

Join us Thursday at 7pm at think|haus, 25 Dundurn St North (Hamilton), for our launch hackfest.

Please RSVP on Eventbrite here:

Event participant Dave Heidebrecht blogged about the event, read his take here.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Open Hamilton looking for waste collection .... developers and data experts

The City of Hamilton is considering giving Open Hamilton access to waste collection information (pick up days, collection changes etc) to see if there is interest among the development community in creating garbage collection apps.

Open Hamilton is looking for a local developer interested in meeting with the City and providing data specifications for the implementation of this data set.

This is a great opportunity to make a positive impact in our community and test our skills on a dataset that's useful to every resident in our city.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The 5 W's of

It's time for Hamilton's official civic website to reflect what's great about our city and Open Hamilton wants you to be part of making this happen.

Join us at City Hall (yes, City Hall) next Thursday at 6 p.m. 

We're meeting to conceptualize the answer to the questions:
  • What is the purpose of the City website? 
  • What does a City website do, what does it not do?
  • What is the role of the citizen in creating the City website?
  • How is a City website designed? What is the framework for a City?
  • Is it a product or a platform?
  • and much much much more....
City staff will be present to observe the discussion.

This is our opportunity as an open data community to set the City in the right direction as they begin thinking about what a new will look like.

There are no preconceptions, please bring your wildest ideas or not-so-wild ones.

6:00 p.m.
Thursday February 16, 2012
Hamilton City Hall (2nd floor)
71 Main Street West

We ask that you register for this event by visiting our Eventbrite page.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

March #Hack4HamOnt now The Bay Hackathon and will be in Burlington

Open Hamilton is excited to join our friends at Open Halton to move the March #Hack4HamOnt to Burlington to take advantage of the opportunities to work in partnership with the City of Burlington to improve our communities.

The Bay Hackathon is tentatively scheduled for the same weekend as #Hack4HamOnt was - March 2nd to 4th.

The City of Burlington's Council formally adopted open data in December. The motion by Burlington's City Council formalized practice - Burlington started offering open data during the summer on their website.

Open Halton and us are meeting with Burlington city staff to plan the event. We hope to announce a location shortly.

Open Hamilton to meet with City Manager on Monday

Open Hamilton will meet with Hamilton's City Manager, Chris Murray, on Monday.

Chris Murray, the city's top civil servant, is the leading staff advocate for open data and we're glad to be meeting with him to offer our assistance in helping him with preparing the open data report to City Council.

Murray told The Hamilton Spectator last January: “We have to send a message to ourselves: it is not our (city staff’s) information to control. Sometimes you just have to let go. That isn’t always easy. The tech is relatively easy to apply, though some cases are more time-consuming and expensive than others.”

The meeting was arranged by Ward 1 Councillor Brian McHattie, the leading proponent of open data on Council and mover of the motion requesting a report about open data.

Four members of Open Hamilton will be at the meeting. There will be City Manager and one of his staff members with Councillor McHattie facilitating the meeting.

It is a one hour meeting and will focus on planning to move our city forward.

With this in mind, members of Open Hamilton met Thursday evening during Startup Drinks to discuss our goals for the meeting.

Our core goals in the meeting are:
We will focus upon the public consultation session and have a few questions for our fellow citizens to help guide us during Monday's meeting.
  1. To have staff commit to timeline to present Open Data to city Council
  2. Staff designates a liaison to streamline communications; rather than consuming resources from every individual department, and additional overhead from all sides.
  3. If the staff report timeline is greater than two months away, we should hold a public consultation meeting.
  4. Staff releases a letter that explains the city's stance on Open Data, as well as which levels of management are authorized to work with parties interested in open data.

What do you want from a public consultation?

Is there something you wish to see implemented in the spring that we should be focused on as part of the consultation?

Who do you wish to see at the consultation?

Let us know what you think, let's start the discussion.