Technical.ly Philly

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Jul. 10, 2012 9:00 am

Philadelphia Public Interest Information Network takes ownership of OpenDataPhilly

OpenDataPhilly.org now has a place to call home. Since the site’s launch during Philly Tech Week 2011, local GIS firm Azavea has hosted it but no organization really owned the directory of data, tools and apps. That changed today, when the Philadelphia Public Interest Information Network (PPIIN) announced that it would take over the site […]

OpenDataPhilly.org now has a place to call home.

Since the site’s launch during Philly Tech Week 2011, local GIS firm Azavea has hosted it but no organization really owned the directory of data, tools and apps. That changed today, when the Philadelphia Public Interest Information Network (PPIIN) announced that it would take over the site and work towards expanding it.

Robert Cheetham of Azavea, which built the site pro-bono, previously told Technically Philly that he didn’t think a private, for-profit business was the right organization to own the site.

PPIIN CEO Neil Budde says he hopes to take OpenDataPhilly.org to “a new level,” by making the data more accessible to those who may not have the technical skills to use it in its raw form. He says he’d like to create applications that would visualize and map the data on the site, citing PPIIN’s recent property tax map as an example.

PPIIN, part of Temple University’s Center for Public Interest Journalism, a new, $2.4 million William Penn Foundation-funded initiative to address public affairs journalism in Philadelphia, will hire one full-time staffer to focus on data, as well as manage the site, Budde says.

Another part of the open data puzzle: The city’s recent Open Data Policy calls for the creation of an Open Data Portal and references the ability to use an existing tool. Budde says PPIIN will work with the city “as closely as we possibly can.”

OpenDataPhilly.org now provides more than 175 data sets, applications and APIs relating to Philadelphia.

Full Disclosure: Technically Philly was involved in the early planning stages of OpenDataPhilly.org and has pushed for the Center for Public Interest Journalism to take ownership of the site.

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Juliana Reyes

Juliana Reyes began as lead reporter at Technically Philly in July 2012. Previously, she was a city services beat reporter for the Philadelphia Daily News, as part of a project called “It’s Our Money.” She is learning to drive, learning to bike (in the city) but is an expert at taking SEPTA. She grew up in North Jersey and Manila, Philippines but she left the tropics for Bryn Mawr College, where she majored in linguistics. She now lives in West Philly.

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