Peer-to-peer mapping for disconnected environments – Transcription

Okay. Can I have your attention, please? Did it turn off? It was off. Yes. Sure. Okay. Yeah. That would be great. I think we might have lost the feed. Oh, you know what? It was the plug. Okay. Okay. We are ready for our next panel. So now we have OpenStreetMap loves open data. And we have Cristina Franken from Mapbox. And Mapbox is launched in Mapbox city’s program. Christina has done a great job rounding up a great panel. I’ll let you go ahead and introduce. We will have a traveling mic for questions. When Yeah. Welcome, everybody. Yeah. So as part of my cities, and like the panel before, this is not a Mapbox session. It’s really more it was an interesting experience for us as part of Mapbox Cities, doing research into what local government officials, what their plans are for their open data portals. And at the other end of the spectrum, talked with OpenStreetMap contributors worldwide on how thing they could better work with open data from city governments. And what we found out, it was literally two different worlds and they seemed to not ever talk with each other. I hope this is not the case everywhere. But the idea for this panel literally is to change that instantly here for the situation in Boulder. We have a great panel of people from the local and state level government here. And just on the format of this, we’re going to, you know, talk through the cityside and the governmentside of things and then open up the conversation to all your questions, your ideas and your comments. And hopefully also some experiences from other parts of, you know, the U.S., but maybe also from other parts of the world. So let’s see how that goes. Ron. Welcome. Is it working? If it’s on? Okay. My name is Ron Pringle. I’m a city manager for the beautiful city of Boulder, Colorado. I’m and I manage out of the Secretary of State’s office. The business intelligence center. We work to make data public. Especially for business decision making and we run an app challenge called Go Code Colorado. I’m Christie, I’m a GIS analyst for Boulder parks and rec. And I’ll add, so I work for a government now. But in my past life I worked for a nonprofit organization in New York City that started the oasis NYC mapping program in 2000 where I was on the other side of the table fighting the New York City government to share data. So I now appreciate both sides of that conversation. Absolutely. So, yeah, we are trying to make it interesting for all of you. And it’s good to have someone that has experienced different parts of this. So, Ron, tell us so in the back we were just walking through the open data portal. And so I know that I think you started a few years ago. And what has been your challenge since? You know, a lot of our challenges are internal. Just trying to acclimatize city government to the concept of open data. But also then external and working with citizens and businesses and the local community and trying to acclimatize them to open data and what it can be used for. One of the things I think we struggle with most right now as we really started to ramp up our program is how we work with people like you to get value out of our data. Because that’s really important for us too. Because we need to actually show that that’s value to doing this work. And that will help feed our continuing release of open data as we go through the city. And we need to be able to sell that internally. And so we’re really just looking at ways that we can partner with people around how they use open data in the city and what kinds of projects they do and visualizations and just generally how we can make those connections and work with each other. Great. So we have obviously Andrew who is working a lot with well, on one hand, government organizations and, well, teaches them to get more data in the open and better data as well. And on the other hand, also, you know, gets, you know gets people to use that data. So maybe you have some recommendations or specifically for the City of Boulder here or any ideas from your experience with Colorado? So when I talk about Go Code Colorado, I often have a slide with the picture of the image from Field of Dreams. Because if you build it, they will come is not true in open data. It’s very much not true. So when we started our program, again, the goal is to make statelevel data across agencies. We’re actually a small agency, 130 people. We answer to a separate elected official. But we thought, if there was there was data across all the agencies that could be helpful if we could get it into the hands are business decision makers. Because those are our clients. Those are our customers. That’s where our funding comes from. When we started out, we had a classic chicken and egg problem. Agencies didn’t work to make it public, or made it available on their Website that wasn’t machine readable, not updated on a regular basis, didn’t have quality metadata. So you lacked context to use it. And then we have an extremely strong startup in tech culture in Colorado. All kinds of creative people who can take data and do creative things with it. They didn’t know where to get data. They didn’t think of it as a resource to use to get solutions. So over the last four years we’ve work to the publish data on behalf of other state agencies to take question that resource constraint to keep them from making data public. But at the time when we got started, we created Go Code Colorado. It’s a hack challenge. We don’t use hackathon, it’s bigger and more involved. It’s in the same vein. We saw it as a way to build momentum. I see four years later it was absolutely necessary to build momentum. But I also see it as a feedback loop. You’re never going to get open data right the first time. It’s an ongoing process. There needs to be a place, whether that’s a physical location like a conference or an event series like a challenge, where people who use data can talk to people in government who create it. And the people in government can take the feedback and tell the people who use data, here are the known limitations. Here are I think that’s a really important cycle. So if you’re in government and you make your data public, there has to be some level of engagement. We do it on a pretty big level. We have a large budget to do it. You don’t have to start there. But you have to start somewhere. And if you’re outside the government and in the end user community, try to find a way to communicate. Especially let the government know you’re using it. Because, like I said, there are lots and lots of reasons people don’t want to make data public within government. Some of them are legitimate, some are not. But no one’s going to take time and energy to do something if they don’t think people are using it. If you are using open data right now and you’ve never let the government know, try to find the agency and even if there’s nothing wrong with it, say thank you. And if there is something wrong with it, try to give them feedback. They might be open to it, they might not. Let them know you’re using it. Perfect. Thank you. There’s the argument that if city open data would be in OpenStreetMap, then instantly there would be more people having access to that same dataset and would be using it. So the example was very relevant for Boulder. So if there would be, for example, a dataset of, like, drinking water or drinking fountains, that is on OpenStreetMap, then an app that uses OpenStreetMap could literally work everywhere around the globe. Using OSM tags and pulling that information into visualizing it for the hiker that goes to the cool, mountain outdoor places. But I wonder if that’s really as easy as it is for the city of Boulder to, as an argument, get all the data into OpenStreetMap. Yeah. So when I first started Ron said, we have somebody who wants to know where the water fountains are. And there is a perfectly reasonable request. We live in a climate that is dry. Lots of very active people. Gosh, as a community member, I want to know that too. But then as, now being on the government side of things, that’s not so simple to solve. In Boulder in particular, there are three different government departments that have three different datasets that might may or may not contain water fountain information. So that coordination is one challenge. And I should clarify, I’m parks and recreation, but Boulder has a whole and so that’s the traditional soccer fields, the recreation centers, the stuff inside the City of Boulder. But we have a whole other department that manages all the hiking trails that Boulder is famous for. That’s a whole different department. And so GIS, we need to coordinate our GIS data. And that’s difficult and can be challenging to break down those departmental barriers sometimes. But then in addition to that, water fountains are outside. We live I mean hopefully you won’t experience this tomorrow, but we can go through in the fall and the spring, 70 degree shifts in temperature. They’re just very unreliable on whether or not they’re going to work. And so, as a City, as you elevate this request up the chain, it becomes a ooo, I don’t know, you know if we’re promising access to water, are we, then, liable? Then you find yourself in the open data sort of cycle of, like, well, we collect it for our asset management purposes and our own business needs. And obviously I feel it should be open data. But then you have to start educating people internally too on the value of open data and that we trust the communities. And then there’s also the question of, well, maybe this should be the kind of dataset that comes from the ground up, from the community. Yep. There’s water there. It was working yesterday. Or something like that. How to create an application that’s a lot more dynamic and relevant to realtime conditions? So Absolutely. I think, Ron, I think you want to add something there, right? Yes, I think it’s on a great point is collaboration and how we can do that with the community and water fountains may seem trivial to some people, like Christie said, it’s not here. And I think that’s a great avenue for participation by the community. And obviously not the only avenue. And those are the kinds of relationships we’re interested in exploring. Because we even though we’re in government, we don’t have all the answers. I know that’s really surprising to everybody. So, you know, we do want to seek out other opinions and take in data when and where it’s possible. But, also please understand that government traditionally is cautious and it moves slowly. And it’s not as organized as people think it is, probably, from the outside. So we are dealing with those problems too. And we just ask for your patience when you try to work with us. Great. Thank you very much. I think that’s a pretty good, you know, point to actually switch over to the hopefully the community side of things. Is there maybe somebody in the audience that has a comment or question at this point from maybe experience in another setting? Yep. Question I have is about open data. The city is using OpenStreetMap as open data. There seems to be some friction it’s not from a verified source or an authoritative source. How can you get cities to be more receptive to using volunteer things like OpenStreetMap? Come talk to me. We to want establish that relationship. It is about trust. And I don’t know Christie can talk about this maybe, she’s the GIS person, I’m not but it really is about building those relationships, and I think that within government that that’s a new experience. Because they traditionally have viewed themselves as the keeper of the data. And that obviously has changed a lot in the last ten years and will continue to change. And I think we just need to crack that nut. And we do that by communicating, talking to each other. So seek me out, seek Christie out, seek Andrew out and come talk to us. Yeah. I would just add, education. I had a meeting yesterday with the whole city of boulder. Kind of the upper level GIS analysts in the entire city. And told them that was coming here. And a lot of them were, like, well, I’m just not sure how to justify how it’s relevant. How an OpenStreetMap conference is relevant to my job. And I think that’s just education. You know? It’s just not and to be honest, I wasn’t sure either. But and so, you know, like a program that helps bridge that gap, or maybe some training materials directed at GIS analysts in local governments and how you might engage? I mean, obviously for parks and recreation, I was hired in part because I have that community participation side of things. So that is kind of a the liability is a little bit less with parks and recreation. Except when it comes to water here. You know, like that might be a good entre. But I think it’s making the connections and educating people. Yeah. It sounds like there’s a lot of knowledge transfer that needs to happen. Part of the research we have done with cities as, you know, at Mapbox city some programs. We also found that a lot of the terms and tools that we use every day, it’s not difficult, but it is not part of a typical GIS analyst’s job to learn how to interact with the community and learn how to edit using ID. So I think it’s a good starting point. And we’re working on actually getting a handbook out there that includes some good case studies from other parts of the world where the community and the city have been working very closely together. So I wonder if there’s other people working with imports or working with the OSM with the local government and the OSM community to improve the data inside OpenStreetMap? I know it’s two. I started an import of sidewalks in San Jose. It wasn’t wellreceived. I think ways are very important. Don’t start there if you are going to do anything. But I work for a transportation agency. And we use OpenStreetMap for our trip planner. And we want better pedestrian routing. And so, you know, they had all this really accurate orthoimagery of sidewalk data and we took it and we wanted to bring it to the community and make more things happen. And you have to have a little more will to push the city to, you know maybe it has to come from outside the city. Maybe the city needs to say, next time we put a sidewalk, put it in OpenStreetMap. We don’t need it to be perfectly geographically accurate, but it’s really close and it’s really useful for people. That’s all I’m saying. Great. Thank you. And then this one? So I’m Denis. I did the import for Ottawa, the building import. I had a little feedback. But we’ve actually learned a lot from the city and stuff. So essentially some imports are actually multistep imports. You would start with your building imports and then later on if the city opens up different data sets like elevation or addresses. So sometimes you can start with an import and it can be very small and it can get really big really fast. But at least if you start somewhere. So we actually work the with the city. They opened up the license. That was the biggest hurdle is open data license. The city thought they had open data, but it wasn’t open. They had a caveat. Hey, if you sue us, you can’t use data. So we had to change the license. Once the city changed the license, then we’re able to do the import. And obviously the community buyin. The whole Wiki page. It takes multiple steps. So definitely take an import about six months to kind of plan ahead. But it can definitely be in multiple steps. First you do the building imports. Maybe merge the addresses and then you can do elevation. So I think and after it’s maintenance, right? Once you do the full import, then you need to maintain that data. So whether that be working with the cities or working with the local community, having platforms to maintain that data is a next step. And that’s where we’re at right now is the maintenance of that data. Yeah. So I think we’re really interested in that too. And what that process looks like. And I’ll tell you, I don’t have a clue right now. That’s good. But yeah. We’re happy to work with people on that. And we do have a lot of data available right now. And we have, I think, a really good license we use creative common zero to license everything. If that doesn’t work, I’d love to hear about that. Because I think that’s one of the most easy to use licenses for data. And we do have a lot of really great data out there already, including Lidar, addresses, street center lines. I don’t know that we have addresses up there. There’s a lot of good stuff. I would explore it. Yeah, I think some of the things you mentioned were also about the import guidelines. It’s almost like a jungle of Wikipedia pages, unless you’re really familiar with them. Or with the technology that is needed or the technical capabilities that are needed. It’s very confusing. So kind of throwing that at city employees is literally impossible. Also, if you’re not familiar with OpenStreetMap. So part of, you know, us being here, we also want to kind of start this conversation about the import guidelines. And then at the same time I know that Ron and Christie have very, very interested in continuing the conversation with specifically the local community here in Boulder to talk about how they can get going with, you know, working closer together. So we are going to continue this conversation more specifically about Boulder in the room just behind this. Just after this panel. I wonder if anyone has any closing remarks or any questions that should be, you know should be said today? So I think you want to Yes, please. So on the note of giving thanks where thanks is due, I just wanted to say to Mr. Pringle a very big thank you for having the open data portal. I’m a student at Boulder, and taken GIS courses and seen umpteen projects that students have done on the Boulder data that you have available. First off, thank you. It’s always nice to get positive feedback. That’s something we don’t get a lot of in government, actually. Shocking. And that’s great. I would love to know more about the projects. Because we’re always looking for examples to put up on our open data catalog so we can show not only internally how people are using data, but externally to the rest of the community who maybe don’t have very good ideas about what this data can be used for. I would love to talk to you. Yeah. Just to add, that internal education, like you could teach the GIS analysts. We need to teach our supervisors, what the business case is. Why we should be spending our time of your money right? Like doing this. And so we need those positive that positive feedback to help build the snowball, so to say. Just to drive the point home. Let me give you an analogy. When career services people, recruiters talk about your resume, if you have a typo on your resume, it’s like hiring managers go through so many of them, they’re looking for a reason to get rid of it. A lot of people who make decisions, wherever they are in government, around open data, are looking for a reason not to make the data public or not have to continue to make their data public. So, again, you know, like we’re all saying, say thank you. But then also ask for feedback. Send it in. And you’re not always going to hear back. But the more we can show to a skeptical data steward, look at what someone did. That’s the promise of open data. The way I see it. We inside government create data for our purpose, regulatory, compliance, whatever it is. And that almost always, outside of that purpose, it has some other useful value. But we, in government, we know what it’s useful for. Because that’s what we created it for and that’s why we maintain it. And I don’t say that critically. We live in our own world. But the idea is when you give it outside and give it to someone with a different perspective. And especially when you can start putting it together across agencies horizontally across government and vertically from the different levels. Unless we inside government are seeing those on a regular basis, we either don’t have the creativity to believe it’s true, or we’re actively looking for reasons to not have to believe it’s true. So keep that in mind. Perfect. Thank you very much for everyone contributing to this. A big thank you to Paige as well. She’s been really helping at the back end to build it all together. So we’re going to talk further with everyone from the City of Boulder and anyone that wants to work closer with the open data team. So please join us over there. And if not, any time, please talk to any of us today. We’re happy to talk about this very specific, very seemingly very challenging issue with open data and OpenStreetMap. Thank you. [ Applause ] Thank you, again, for our panelists. Thank you for making the time to join our conference. We have a break now. Until about 5:00. So a nice, long break. Go drink some coffee. Get hydrated. And if you’d like to join Christina and gang and talk more open data, they’re up here. Thank you. [Break]