Julie Kanzler is a DC technologist you should know - Technical.ly DC

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Sep. 30, 2015 12:12 pm

Julie Kanzler is a DC technologist you should know

The District's GIS specialist is a big fan of civic engagement and fighting “tone deaf” civic tech projects.

Julie Kanzler.

(Courtesy photo)

Hey, guess what? There are many amazing women doing great work in the D.C.-area tech community. This should come as no surprise to dedicated readers of Technical.ly DC, but we’re launching a new, ongoing series anyway, to further highlight the stories and projects of local women technologists.


Julie Kanzler works for D.C. government. The daughter of “back-to-the-land hippies,” and someone who once wore the same outfit to work for an entire week without anyone noticing, is a web developer and interim program manager within D.C.’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer.

Kanzler is part of a team that creates and maintains the datasets behind the District’s Open Data portal.

"All too often, government tech products can be 'tone deaf.' They fail to embed meaningfully into users' lives because this steady feedback loop between users and developers is missing."
Julie Kanzler

“It’s a fun time to do data work as a public servant,” said Kanzler, 40. “I love that governments like D.C. are pumping the data equivalent of raw material into local communities, and tech startups, journalists and civic hackers are building amazing things.”

Kanzler cut her tech teeth early on, programming Beethoven’s 9th in homage to her favorite movie at the time (Electric Dreams) on her family’s newly purchased Commodore 128. Yet it wasn’t until she took a GIS class that she fell in love with the idea of using data-heavy maps to make better decisions. Fast forward to today, and Kanzler has been developing geo- and data-centric applications in the greater D.C. area for nearly 20 years, half as a public servant.

A big fan of civic engagement, Kanzler participated in the Census Bureau’s 2015 National Day of Civic Hacking, getting hands-on with the new CitySDK toolkit. For Kanzler, finding new ways of stoking civic engagement and thinking about usability is key.

“All too often, government tech products can be ‘tone deaf.’ They fail to embed meaningfully into users’ lives because this steady feedback loop between users and developers is missing,” Kanzler said. “Good, genuine civic engagement around gov tech helps to break out of the one-way delivery mold.”

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