Foursquare Map for Leidse Square ‘Entertainment Area’ in Effect

Posted: September 5th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Foursquare Map | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Finally got around to go the AUB Ticketshop at Leidse Square during the daytime to view the Foursquare Display we setup in action (previous blog post).

A video of the screen:

The screen in context:
Screen in context

It is a welcome refresher from the static posters and the static videos that usually litter these high profile locations. The foursquare coloured view of the area is always fresh and shows a view on the local flavour and the people that visit the venues around.

From an urban development point of view it may be odd to draw more attention to the already highly crowded Leidse Square area. But it comes to reason that new developments such as these will be tested on high density locations first. We would be very interested to create augmentations in public space to make locations in Amsterdam’s periphery more appealing.


10’000’000 Foursquare Users

Posted: July 21st, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Manifestations | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Somebody brought to my attention again the Foursquare user adoption animation they created in honour of their 10 millionth member. A great achievement for Foursquare and just the beginning of many more awesome things I am sure.

In the animation, if you look at the still at August of 2009, you see the US gaining some traction and this flare across the pond. That is Amsterdam where at the time Foursquare was being adopted hand over fist.

Foursquare 10e6

The story behind that is somewhat interesting and has been told, but this graphic does make it poignant again. Having visited SxSWi that last March, Robert Gaal and myself saw the launch of Foursquare and quickly got hooked. That was the year that location had not been played out yet at all, Latitude was fresh, Fire Eagle was still relevant and Brightkite was being used. Location was on the cusp.

Back in the Netherlands we quickly got in touch with the guys to get the service launched here. We thought waiting would probably result in the Netherlands being served last (as usual). After some back and forth we got everything up and running and Amsterdam was the first international city on Foursquare. The rest is history as can be seen in the graph.

 

 

 


Apps for Amsterdam

Posted: May 25th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Events, Policy | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Tonight the Apps for Amsterdam awards ceremony takes place and stage one of the Dutch open data trajectory will be completed.

Last year at the end of summer I helped Thijs Kleinpaste and Stefan de Bruijn co-author a proposal to sponsor open data within the municipality of Amsterdam. This proposal was accepted near unanimously by the commission in November (full write-up) and it started a roller coaster ride for open data in Amsterdam that is now starting to have far wider effects throughout the Netherlands.

Hack de Overheid (Hack the Government), the soon-to-be foundation I’m in the board of, partnered with the City of Amsterdam and Waag Society to realize the competition and a series of events. This series culminated for us in Hack de Overheid #3 an inspiring day and hackathon for over a hundred developers who built civic apps.

The completion of the contest tonight and the sometimes stunning applications —many of which display excellence in cartography and visualization— submitted to it mark another high point I am proud to be a part of.

What’s next?

But as I said this completes just the first stage of what is bound to be a long and tortuous road. As we speak there are local initiatives being formed to open up data in at least Enschede, Rotterdam, Utrecht, Eindhoven and the Hague. It will be interesting to see what comes out of that and if some of the smaller cities may in fact outpace us here in the capital.

But we need to do more. Recent questions about privacy violations in data releases make it more than a little obvious that there is a massive issue in data literacy. I wholeheartedly agree with Adam Greenfield if he says that data and its affordances need to be a core subject starting from school onwards. We need to explore materials, interventions and processes that allow us to teach data literacy and that allow others to teach it for us if we ever want to spread this knowledge at scale.

Literacy is required not only in school children but also in decision makers in business and government right now if we want to keep the momentum we have right now. Future developments run the risk of being hamstrung by backlashes against the malignant consequences of data or open data being unused because the ecosystem is not in tune. There are still lots of issues to be resolved around ownership, privacy, responsibility, licensing and business models.

From a commercial point of view, the sustainability of many of the applications in the contest is doubtful. Creating proof of concept apps for the data is a more than a good start, but it is by no means enough. The real need is for open but comprehensive systems where open data is a given. That data needs to be technically excellent and fully engrained in the fabric of our information society so that everybody can use it to enrich their app/site/discourse. Data owners and producers need to participate and be accountable for their data to accept feedback from the public both in the specific and in the general case. Such a system cannot be built or be static, but needs to be grown and evolve continuously. The only thing we can do is plant, nurture and weed.

So tonight will be fun, but let that not distract us from the massive amount of work still ahead. We are ready for it. Will you join us?


Foursquare map display for Amsterdam nightlife

Posted: May 4th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Foursquare Map, Projects | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

For the Amsterdam UIT Bureau and I Amsterdam we created this Foursquare map designed to display nightlife activity around the Leidseplein (entertainment) area with recent checkins, specials and current mayor and photographs of a selected group of venues. We strongly believe in creating autonomous displays that take cues from the environment —in this case using Foursquare— and deliver clear actions to the audience as well as a sense that the area they are in is alive and all they have to do is go out and connect to it.

The project is live at its own URL and in an iframe on the IAmsterdam site.

http://monsterswell.com/projects/uitfoursquare/

Technically we used Foursquare’s OAuth2 API which is outstanding. To be able to share one token across all requests we employ a file based PHP cache that relays the necessary requests for us. Main technology was created in collaboration with Panman Productions.


Video of The Rising Tide of Data

Posted: November 18th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Events, Talks | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Watch Alper give a broad sweeping introduction on the field of data at a recent Mobile Monday Amsterdam:


Open Data in Amsterdam Center Adopted

Posted: November 10th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Policy | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

A proposal on the topic of Open Data (link to PDF) that Monster Swell advised Thijs Kleinpaste and Stefan de Bruijn on was discussed during a meeting by the commission for general affairs of the sub-municipality Center of Amsterdam.

Alper used the opportunity to take three minutes to address the council before the meeting and posted a call to action for better and more effective digital public services using open data and asked the city to open up more of its data.

Commissie Algemene Zaken

When the proposal was finally treated it was adopted near unanimously (tweet) by the entire council with also a positive recommendation by the alderman. The alderman commented that because he used to be an open source developer, an open data project had been on his list of things to do for a while now and he welcomed this proposal. His idea was to spend the allocated €10’000 on projects in the form of bounties to maximize the effectiveness and first grab the low-hanging fruit.

At the same time in San Francisco it seems an open data law was voted into effect (link to legislation). The ordinance is interesting to read and lists:

Findings:

An open data policy will provide benefits to the City, which include:

  1. enhanced government transparency and accountability
  2. development of new analyses or applications based on the unique data the City provides
  3. mobilization of San Francisco’s high-tech workforce to use City data to create useful civic tools at no cost to the city
  4. creation of social and economic benefits based on innovation in how residents interact with government stemming from increased accessibility to City data sets

City departments should take further steps to make their data sets available to the public in a more timely and efficient manner.

It would seem that the time is now ripe to push this agenda through local legislative bodies. Given the current trend towards better digital services and transparency a suitably drafted proposal for open data with a realistic goal can scarcely have any opponents.

We’re going to look into passing more proposals towards open data like this following the lead of Amsterdam.

Update: the minutes for the commission meeting have been posted: Dutch PDF


The Rising Tide of Data on Mobile Monday

Posted: November 10th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Events, Talks | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

“The Rising Tide of Data” was a more pared down, less activist, introductory version of “Civicy Duty in a Hyper-Connected World” presented by Alper and it was well received in a solid program by Mobile Monday Amsterdam on Data.

Esther Gons (also pictured below) does visual representations of complicated concepts and she did this sketch of my presentation:

Click for a bigger view and her take on the event.

DaphneChannaHorn-MOMOAms-18 (29 van 59)

Annotated slides and video will be available shortly.


Open Innovation Festival for the city of Amsterdam

Posted: November 9th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

Alper will be giving a one hour workshop to civil servants of the city of Amsterdam concerning open data on the Open Innovation Festival, on December 3rd from 11:00-12:00. This workshop will treat the benefits of open data for the city and the general public of Amsterdam and is a further push of this agenda within the municipality.


The Rising Tide of Data on Mobile Monday

Posted: November 3rd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Events, Talks | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Alper will be giving a brief data-heavy talk titled “The Rising Tide of Data” at Mobile Monday Amsterdam #18. More to follow.


Open Data in Amsterdam City Center

Posted: October 28th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Talks | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Consultation with council members of the city of Amsterdam (division Amsterdam Center) on open data which resulted in a policy piece with a proposal to open up data (PDF in Dutch).

The commission will have a consulting round on November 8th where I will be addressing the council to clarify the benefits of open data and exhort the city to open up.