Route Fifty: Counties Take Broadband Maps Into Their Own Hands. “The National Association of Counties plans to launch a mobile app Monday that will help the organization crowdsource broadband speed maps to pinpoint the flaws in the Federal Communication Commission’s much-criticized maps.”
Government Technology: Evergov Wants to Make Local Government Services More Searchable. “It may be a bit of an understatement to say that government services are scattered online. Of course, it certainly varies by jurisdiction, but more often than not, residents of a given city must visit disparate websites to find digital services. For example, this could entail visiting one site to pay a parking ticket; another to check on the status of a business license; another to handle taxes; and so on. But a new website is working to consolidate digital services and information for every city across the country on one easy-to-search platform.”
Washington Post: Google reaped millions in tax breaks as it secretly expanded its real estate footprint across the U.S. . “Google — which has risen to become one of the world’s most valuable companies by transforming the public’s ability to access information — has vastly expanded its geographic footprint over the past decade, building more than 15 data centers on three continents and 70 offices worldwide. But that development spree has often been shrouded in secrecy, making it nearly impossible for some communities to know, let alone protest or debate, who is using their land, their resources and their tax dollars until after the fact, according to Washington Post interviews and newly released public records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.”
CityLab: Should Libraries Be the Keepers of Their Cities’ Public Data?. “In recent years, dozens of U.S. cities have released pools of public data. It’s an effort to improve transparency and drive innovation, and done well, it can succeed at both: Governments, nonprofits, and app developers alike have eagerly gobbled up that data, hoping to improve everything from road conditions to air quality to food delivery. But what often gets lost in the conversation is the idea of how public data should be collected, managed, and disseminated so that it serves everyone—rather than just a few residents—and so that people’s privacy and data rights are protected. That’s where librarians come in.”
EU Science Hub: New Urban Centres Database sets new standards for information on cities at global scale. “Building on the Global Human Settlement Layer (GHSL), the new database provides more detailed information on the cities’ location and size as well as characteristics such as greenness, night time light emission, population size, the built-up areas exposed to natural hazards, and travel time to the capital city. For several of these attributes, the database contains information recorded over time, dating as far back as 1975.” The database covers over 10,000 cities worldwide.
WHIO: Convicted of buying sex? Dayton will tell your neighbors via Facebook.. “If you are convicted of buying sex from a prostitute in the city of Dayton, city officials are going to do their best to make sure your neighbors know about it … in 21st century style. The city of Dayton will begin buying specially targeted Facebook advertisements linked to the addresses of men who buy sex. The ads will tell people that one of their neighbors has been convicted and will give them a link to a web site listing the men’s names, addresses and crimes.”
The Atlantic: How a Feel-Good AI Story Went Wrong in Flint. “More than a thousand days after the water problems in Flint, Michigan, became national news, thousands of homes in the city still have lead pipes, from which the toxic metal can leach into the water supply. To remedy the problem, the lead pipes need to be replaced with safer, copper ones. That sounds straightforward, but it is a challenge to figure out which homes have lead pipes in the first place. The City’s records are incomplete and inaccurate. And digging up all the pipes would be costly and time-consuming. That’s just the kind of problem that automation is supposed to help solve.”