There's an app for that!
Earlier this year, ICMA announced a new initiative undertaken with our long-time Strategic Partner, Esri, the leading developer of geographic information system (GIS) mapping software, to begin to explore the world of big data, open data, apps, and dashboards, and what it all means for local governments in their work. This issue has been receiving much attention in the national media this year, and it’s an issue with which local government managers should become familiar. While most of us will never become full-fledge techies, we do need to know what questions we should be asking of our IT staff and how we can take advantage of the efficiencies new technology affords our efforts to deliver high-quality service to our residents.
The Esri-ICMA Local Government and Technology Initiative held the first in a series of activities on April 25 on the Esri Campus in Redlands, California. Twelve ICMA members from around the country discussed the kinds of apps that would help their organizations better serve their communities, as well as those that would help them do their own jobs. Participants represented local governments ranging in size from Lake Isabella, Michigan (population - 1,681) to Montgomery County, Maryland (population - 989,794).
The group developed a list of 150-200 potential apps that would be useful for local government work, and then narrowed that list down to the group’s top priorities. Esri will be working with their solutions teams, business partners, and start-ups in order to develop these apps so they can be implemented in any community. And the complete list of app ideas will help drive the first ever hackathon, Hackstock for #LocalGov, at the 2013 ICMA Annual Conference in Boston. We’re inviting start-ups and developers to join us on Sunday, September 22, to work on developing prototypes for new apps that can be picked up and used by local governments for their work.
This summer, we’ll be running an education campaign to provide even more details about this initiative as well as offer some big-picture thinking on how technology will play a role in where local government is going. It’s an exciting time, but we’ve got a lot of thinking to do as a profession. Join the conversation on the #LocalGov Technology Alliance Blog today!