Illinois, New York City move forward on open data, apps

Illinois is joining a growing group of states that hope to utilize civic hacking and provide more transparency with a new website launched yesterday. Data.Illinois.Gov, is a searchable clearinghouse of information from state agencies that will help inform residents about the operation of state government and encourage the use of state information, including the development of applications for mobile devices that can be built around the data.

The data site is an initiative of the Illinois Innovation Council, which promotes innovation in economic development. The first phase of the site includes data from the Illinois Department of Transportation, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the Illinois Department of Revenue and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. More agencies are expected to add their own data to the site and the Governor hopes that eventually, the site will become a data clearinghouse for all state agencies.

New York City is also working to keep growing the interest in its open data initiatives with a new phase of the BigApps challenge. Instead of sourcing solutions and applications for city problems, this phase turns the model on its head and asks citizens to provide problems. Previously, BigApps sought to have developers submit their completed software applications and put them up for votes and feedback. Now the city is asking citizens to tell them what kind of apps they would like before they are built.

The phase is considered a half-step between BigApps 3.0 the next official BigApps challenge. Feedback from this phase will be included as guiding principles for app developers going into BigApps 3.0 Like previous BigApps challenges, prizes will be awarded for ideas that get the most votes. More information is available here.