Chris Steins is co-founder and co-editor-in-chief of Planetizen.

Dealing In Data

Governing Magazine has a special report on "E-Governing" in their September, 2004 issue, Dealing in Data.

This is certainly true,

"Governments have been trying to break down the silos of data that have been built up agency by agency, government by government."

But I wonder about this evaluation, which seems to be the foundation for most of the article:

"There is one basic prerequisite that has to be met before any data merging can take place. Government agencies have to take the information that lives on paper and convert it into digitized form. "

Will ESRI be able to keep up with internet based mapping solutions?

I have been struck lately by the progress of several projects using non-ESRI based GIS planning support systems and how often the decision to move away from ESRI has been that PC based ArcGIS cannot handle the large data sets for real-time scenario analysis.

I just saw a beta demonstration of a wildfire mitigation application developed by the University of Colorado's Planning department that uses a combination of open source GIS, SQL server, and Perl coding to help cities and counties look at alternative growth futures and how they impact fire mitigation.

Project Gutenberg

Project GutenbergFor those Tech Talk readers who have not yet heard about Project Gutenberg, this is an amazing project that defines the future of the Internet.

Project Gutenberg is the first and largest single collection of free electronic books. They have published over 12,000 eBooks through the collective efforts of hundreds of volunteers. The Magna Carta was the project's 10,000 e-book, published in October, 2003.

The Price of Non Interoperability: $15.8 Billion per Year

AEC Cost Grid The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) commissioned a study to estimate the efficiency losses resulting from inadequate interoperability among computer-aided design, engineering, and software systems in the U.S. capital facilities industry (In 2002, the nation set in place $374 billion in new construction on capital facilities (U.S. Census Bureau, 2004b)).

Now there's apparently a precise measure of the waste caused by fragmentation of IT systems.

Open Source In Government

An article in the Los Angeles Times takes a look at how local and national government agencies around the world are increasing adopting Open Source Software (OSS). (See: "Developing Nations See Linux as a Savior From Microsoft's Grip" [Reg. reqd], Los Angeles Time, page A4, Aug 9th, 2004) . According to the article:

"Government-driven movements to shift to free or low-cost software � fed by security, economic and ideological concerns -- threaten to dent Microsoft's ambitions. In fact, government officials the world over, from local authorities in Austria's capital to high-ranking national bureaucrats in India, are increasingly moving from proprietary software such as Microsoft's to open-source products."

Los Angeles Koreatown

Washington, DC - in our nation's capital, blogging about a New York Times article about Los Angeles. Isn't technology wonderful?

The Times almost never gets LA right. They cover it like an alien planet, populated by strange, non-New Yorkers who also seem kinda hip (so what's up with that?). Usually, every NYT story about LA begins with the same implicit lead sentence that their coverage of Japan used to: "These freakin' people, you wouldn't believe what they're up to now."

And then comes this

XML Schema For Monitoring Land Use

The Planning and Regulatory Services Online project [PARSOL], a local e-government initiative in the U.K. has developed a new XML schema for monitoring land use.

[The PARSOL schema] has been designed to provide a standard for planning application monitoring data (used to monitor land use against local and national plans and policies). This schema will be used for the exchange of data at a local, regional and national level...The information covers both residential (housing) and industrial (employment) information gathered from planning application, inspections and reviews.

Movies in Downtown LA

I missed this story in Variety this weekend. It's about movie theaters in downtown Los Angeles as the latest strategy to "revitalize" the neighborhood where my fellow blogger Chris and I used to drive late, late at night when we were kids, to view the postapocalyptic emptiness of it all.

A salient bit:

Almost a century has passed since Hollywood staged its biggest premieres in the urban heart of Los Angeles. But tonight's preem of DreamWorks and Paramount's "Collateral" at the 2,000-seat Orpheum Theater could be a turning point for the opulent movie palaces along South Broadway.

Nation's First City-Wide WiFi Network Completed

Although Zamora, Spain was the first city in the world to implement a true city-wide WiFI network, it appears that Grand Haven, Michigan has become the first city in the United States to implement a city-wide WiFi broadband network.

From the press release:

"As the first WiFi city in America, Grand Haven has truly lived up to its name in the Internet era, as we now allow anyone anywhere to connect to the Internet and roam the city and waterways in a completely secure computing environment," Mayor Bergman said. "The city-wide WiFi service provided by Ottawa Wireless is already enhancing the quality of life for residents and tourists and enabling the city to provide new services."

Transportation of the Future of the Past

Thanks to my friend Noah Shachtman at Defense Tech, now I know about Transportation Futuristics, an ongoing exhibit up the street from me at the University of California at Berkeley. It's chock-full of pictures like this one:

All kinds of wacky transport concepts that never, you should pardon the expression, got anywhere.