The vital role that visualising data onto maps can have for people delivering services was the starting point for a wider discussion on delivery based on real users’ need at yesterday’s event for local government workers.
Ed Parsons, Google’s geospatial technologist, gave the keynote speech at yesterday’s Building Perfect Council Websites event in the Midlands and urged the audience to think further than simply mapping where things are for people to look at but about developing tools to allow users to help create the hyperlocal services they need.
It was a typically thought-provoking talk and if the slides become available later we’ll update this post with it but you can get a flavour of it in these few tweets:
— Richard Friend (@RFriend23) July 11, 2013
— James Coltham (@prettysimple) July 11, 2013
— Dave Witts (@Wittser) July 11, 2013
It was a good introduction to a day where location (or as my colleague Will has started calling it, ‘placey-ness’!) took centre stage.
The format of the day meant that many parallel discussion groups and workshops continued throughout the day on topics ranging from council intranets to responsive design and as the attendees were mostly people who ran the websites or IT infrastructure for council websites it interesting to hear real experiences.
A highlight from the day for me was a session titled ‘how mobile is mobile’ which was hosted by Edinburgh Council’s James Coltham and included people from councils including Rochdale and Kirklees.
We heard more about the different apps that have been developed (Kirklees tracks pothole repairs for example) but there was also some wariness expressed about creating ever more apps rather than finding open web solutions given both development/marketing cost and also accessibility issues .
Those two factors are something very much at the forefront of our thinking here at Talk about Local at the moment as we continue with work on the two apps we hope will help people looking to create, share and explore location-based information using mobile devices – our prototype Augmented Reality app and the GMG-backed n0tice app. The demo videos for both here.