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AT&T, Z80 Labs, United Way, d!g Buffalo and Buffalo Open Data to host civic app symposium, 'Opportunities in Open Data'

by jmaloni


Fri, Sep 5th 2014 07:00 am

Andrew Nicklin, director of Open NY, to present with other open data experts Saturday, Sept. 27

Mobile and Web apps are changing the world and local communities, and Western New York is no exception. To further grow the technology and start up communities in Western New York, as well as promote social entrepreneurship, AT&T, Z80 Labs, United Way of Buffalo & Erie County, d!g Buffalo, and Buffalo Open Data have teamed up to host a civic app symposium titled "Opportunities in Open Data." The event will be held from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Sept. 27 at d!g Buffalo, 640 Ellicott St.

This free event is open to the general public and will feature experts in the world of open source data and app development. Topics include mobile app development, trends in open data, benefits of developing civic apps, and local datasets that nonprofit and civic groups have made available to developers. In addition, the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority will make a special presentation on its plans to make its data publicly available.

"Opportunities in Open Data" is designed to spark discussion of community issues in the region that stand to gain from software innovation using open data from civic and government sources. The symposium will help coders, entrepreneurs and software developers to better understand community issues, while connecting them with area nonprofit leaders to brainstorm how civic apps can be used to solve local challenges. In addition, it will provide guidance on topics such as app development for civic benefit, monetizing and scaling apps, and trends in open data. There will also be a special session on commercializing civic apps to support local economic development and community service.

The symposium will be kicked off by a presentation by Andrew Nicklin, director of Open NY, a comprehensive state website that provides user-friendly, one-stop access to data from New York, local and federal government agencies. Other presenters include Remy DeCausemaker, Rochester Institute of Technology; Christopher Fagiani, co-creator of an open-source mobile data collection platform; and Tim Poulsen, Appcelerator.

Nicklin leads New York's efforts to expand public access to government data. He also engages developer and academic communities through open data events while overseeing the design of a Web platform for information-sharing among municipalities. Before leading Open NY, he served as director of research and development at the City of New York's Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, overseeing the city's open data platform, the implementation of the open data law, and helped design the city's open data policy and technical standards manual.

Fagiani will present on the application of programming skills to solve social challenges. He is a member of Buffalo Open Data, and is the co-creator of an open-source mobile/cloud-based data collection platform called FLOW. FLOW has been used by the World Bank, Water for People and a number of International NGOs to monitor the status of water wells and sanitation facilities in countries including Malawi, Liberia and Sierra Leone. He holds a MS in computer science from NYU and a BA from Boston College. Fagiani is currently a technical director and software architect at HBO.

DeCausemaker is nationally renowned for his work and research in open source data. He serves as FOSS research coordinator at the Center for Media, Arts, Games, Interaction, and Creativity (MAGIC) at the Rochester Institute of Technology. He is a co-founder of CIVX.us, which has a mission to improve access, openness and transparency of public information. DeCausemaker will present on national open source data trends, resources available, and his role in cultivating a civic hacking community in Rochester.

Poulsen is a software engineer at Appcelerator, a company specializing in delivering native cross-platform apps and driving success with real-time analytics via open, cloud-based platforms. He will discuss available tools and resources that make it possible to build cross-platform mobile applications and bring them to scale. Prior to his current position, he created Appcelerator's app development training courses. Poulsen has published multiple apps for iOS and Android, written multiple articles for PC Magazine, and has published dozens of training courses on various technology topics.

NFTA Senior Project Manager John J. Wojcik will present on the soon-to-be-launched NFTA transit cloud, which will make all non-security-related data publicly available, which will encourage use among the local programming community.

Some of the area nonprofits that will be presenting on their data resources include:

•After School Network of WNY

•Child Care Resource Network

•Grassroots Gardens of Buffalo

•Parent Network of WNY

•Partnership for the Public Good

•Preservation Ready Sites

•University at Buffalo Regional Institute

•University Heights Collaborative/ReTree the District

•University Heights Tool Library

•United Way of Buffalo & Erie County

In addition, representatives from Z80 Labs and LaunchNY will present what resources the incubator organizations have available for local technologists, designers and coders who have aspirations to commercialize an app or launch a start-up. Attendees also will have the opportunity to meet with these representatives after the symposium to discuss their innovations.

A complimentary light breakfast and lunch will be served to all registered attendees. All interested individuals are asked to RSVP to http://buffalo-open-data.eventbrite.com by Sept. 24.

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