This page curates everything from open government data to visualization tools to data standards to algorithmic implementation. The only common thread is that all these data and data products share a commitment to civic interests.
Open government / civic data
- Open civic data portals
Open data publishing portals curate open government and other open civic data collections.
- Open civic data platforms
Web-based data access, publishing, and distribution platforms. Open data publishing platforms are usually designed for re-use by others (like Socrata or CKAN).
Platforms that allow a variety of people to contribute data to a common collection.
Formats designed to structure data, which then enables interoperability, analysis, and software development.
APIs (application programming interfaces) allow different software to communicate with each other, and in particular, send, receive, and update data. Open government and civic data APIs are an evolution beyond “open data” in that they allow civic technologists to build interoperable apps, instead of just access bulk downloads of open data.
Tools and platforms that visually present & analyze information, like:
Dashboards present and visualize key data, including trends and hotspots, in a single glance. The most common example in this subgenre are municipal dashboards, which display data indicators across a city for operators or citizens to monitor.
Network visualizations are interactive visualizations of networks, such as mapping the social networks of the political elite.
Carbon calculators help people calculate and visualize their — or better yet, companies’ — carbon footprints.
Data science for social good
Data science is used to “unify statistics, data analysis, machine learning and their related methods” to “understand and analyze actual phenomena” using data. (Hayashi, Chikio, 1996. “What is Data Science? Fundamental Concepts and a Heuristic Example“).
The role of place is obviously hugely important in civic technology Mapping tech collects, plots, and displays geographic data.
Civic maps collect and display data geographically to coordinate action, plot resources, or make an argument for change.
Mapping tools provide tooling and utilities for making civic maps.
- Location services identify the coordinates of people, places, and things.
Mapping platforms are the underlying platforms and tools that draw the maps, such as OpenStreetMap and Google Maps, that you can use.
Accessible databases of civic and media archives.
A Civic Data Primer
Data exists at an interesting and complicated intersection of the computational and the social. “Data” supports the claims we make in essays, and “data” is the fodder of algorithms. We can collect and use data to hold governments accountable just as soon as governments and companies can use data to surveil us. The breadth of definitions and assumptions and processes and literacies that surround “data” – some of which cut directly to the core of scientific inquiry and social life – render the word both dizzying and endless.
- Logic Magazine’s Ben Tarnoff on defining and democratizing data
- The “Algorithm” and “Data Visualization” sections of Software Studies: A Lexicon (although the whole book is worth a read)
- Dr. danah boyd of Data & Society’s Critical Questions for Big Data
- Dr. Chris Wiggins’ course at Columbia called data:past,present,future
- Dr. Ruha Benjamin’s Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code
- Yasodara Cordova for Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center on different protections for different types of data
- The State of Open Humanitarian Data 2020 by the OCHA Centre for Humanitarian Data
- Ethics in Geo, by Tom MacWright (2020)
- A Toolkit for Centering Racial Equity Throughout Data Integration by Amy Hawn Nelson, PhD, et al at the UPenn Actionable Intelligence for Social Policy (2020)
- The syllabus for Shannon Mattern’s Maps as Media course at the New School is an incredible overview of mapping (2018-2020)
- The Value of Data summary report produced by the Bennett Institute for Public Policy “shows that the economic characteristics of data and the data economy mean the market alone will not unlock data’s full potential value. But it is possible to gain more from data with the right data policies, and an institutional framework that supports trustworthy access to data.” (2020)
- Open data standards design behind closed doors? by Ana Brandusescu, Michael Canares, and Silvana Fumega (2020)
- Do No Harm Guide: Applying Equity Awareness in Data Visualization by Jonathan Schwabish and Alice Feng (2021)
- Khairil Yusof of Sinar Project (Malaysia) introduces how open data standards can help speed up the development of civic tech apps/services as well as foster collaboration between different users at Code for All Summit (2020):