Open Government Coalition
The OGC framework allows governments to work together to build useful tools for us all at no cost. Governments become project managers and private companies pay developers to do the work to spec and publish the cloud infrastructure-as-code online for any other entity to use for free.
We have a successful mobility project with over 80 governments, multiple public-sector entities, and private sector companies to fund and build it, and there are 3 other projects under development.
The Open Government Coalition was started by the Office of Civic Innovation in Louisville, KY to build, fund, and maintain cloud projects for multiple city governments with development costs paid for by private partners. See www.GovInTheOpen.com.
We realized that governments were paying hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars to pay vendors to develop solutions to common problems, and we do not do a good job of sharing our work and deployment process. If instead we can develop a project plan around specific valuable use cases, gather sponsors from interested stakeholders, and have tech companies to the work, we could open source the entire procurement process and build products for free. The resulting code and detailed deployment process is all released online, and governments have a platform to use and build upon collaboratively.
There are currently 4 active projects (and more being scoped) under the OGC umbrella.
1. Waze CCP processor – database, API, visualizations and maps for Waze government partners to make use of Waze’s anonymized data immediately and get out-of-the-box tools like traffic studies, faulty traffic equipment discovery, and collision prediction analysis. 12 governments have deployed including Los Angeles, Peru, New Zealand, Anchorage (in 30 minutes from a plane!) and over 80 more are supporting the future roadmap. Support from Waze, Amazon, Slingshot, Microsoft, Carto, GovEx, UPenn, and more.
2. SpeedUp USA - open source nationwide map that pulls individual internet speed test data from M-Lab and breaks down the results on maps and charts by points, census blocks, ISP, date range, and speed. Essential for digital inclusion efforts and ISP agreements since a tool like this does not exist for free anywhere else. Support from NDIA and local developers and city govs.
3. IFTTT Open Data Action – Allows residents to get alerts on any changes from a city’s open data from any platform IFTTT supports (text message, email, Twitter, Slack, Hue Bulbs, etc). Support from IFTTT.com and multiple cities.
4. Street Quality from cameras – a method to assess your city’s street grid pavement quality from Open Street Cam data and get a pavement condition index using the images into a dashboard.
What Makes Your Project Innovative?
The OGC pools government needs and resources, allowing for collective management and funding or universal projects that can be built upon and expanded. This saves millions of dollars and creates tools that are built better.
Features of OGC Projects:
- Code/Programming: open source and publicly developed
- Benefits multiple governments at once
- Can be easily deployed and is well documented
- Likely deployed to and integrated with existing city cloud accounts
- May deal with sensitive data or data partnerships
- Pools our limited and specialized internal tech resources
- Saves money, quicker time-to-live
- No RFPs needed - in house solutions
- Outside organizations can help develop/support/fund/promote/sponsor
Key factors that make OGC projects different than other open source projects are private funding, paying a developer to build and maintain, and using the cloud for ease of replication.
What is the current status of your innovation?
The OCG platform has proven itself successful, and is under constant re-evaluation to allow the building of new projects.
There is a detailed framework for how we can ingest and evaluate new potential projects. This allows other governments to show their support and align key sponsors and collaborators. https://www.govintheopen.com/how-to-run-an-ogc-project.html
The first successful project was Louisville's open source Waze CCP data processor that has over 80 governments on board (cities, states, countries), and allows the use of Waze's mobility data for use cases like traffic studies, safety analysis, and finding faulty equipment. It's a collaboration between Waze, Amazon, and the local developer Slingshot to build a tool that is useful for any of the 800 Waze CCP partners, and the only cost is for hosting in the cloud. It can be deployed in 30 minutes from a plane, instead of the months it took to develop independently. https://www.github.com/LouisvilleMetro/WazeCCPProcessor
Collaborations & Partnerships
Over 80 governments have either deployed (Los Angeles, New Zealand, Peru, Anchorage) or expressed interested in deploying the Waze OGC solution. This project has the support of Amazon, Slingshot, and Waze, and we are talking with Microsoft, Carto, Google, and Data for Democracy for additional support and integrations.
There are 75 government people on the OGC Slack channel.
We have support or potential support for other OGC projects from IFTTT, Merit.edu, NDIA, PIFs, Census.gov and others.
Users, Stakeholders & Beneficiaries
Residents save tax dollars and have better solutions sooner.
Governments have better solutions quickly and at no cost.
Companies show support and fund projects, aligning with causes they value and driving adoption of their products.
Results, Outcomes & Impacts
For the OGC project itself, you can see immediate impact and outcomes from the successful Waze project.
We see this as a method to pool resources and develop a new ecosystem using an innovative type of public private partnerships (P3s).
This is a new area of innovation, combining the cloud, P3s, open source, and city/government co-management and support of projects, all at no cost to govs.
Challenges and Failures
Each project needs a dedicated champion that knows the space, the gaps, and has a vision for success that can spend the time rounding up the needed stakeholders, supporters, and sponsors. This champion is essential to the success of the project as it goes through it's main phases: proposed, in review, gathering support, in progress, and maintaining. Each phase can have a different champion, but it needs one to get it to the next phase.
Conditions for Success
Clear documentation of how to use the product and it's use cases and benefits are essential to gain the right support and adoption of the product.
The OGC is very replicable and in fact is built to be that way. It is a framework to replicate the success of past projects for future projects. The projects themselves are built to be replicable, and be deployed to multiple governments with ease.
We learned there is real need and pent-up demand for an innovation like this. Government employees know it is possible to create better solutions and are frustrated that they are tied to the frustrating parts of current vendor/procurement systems and end up with less usable products. The OGC allows them to instead co-create a product that serves their needs and at no cost quickly. The OGC framework is only possible with advancements in cloud adoption, hiring tech-savvy government workers who have the vision to create something collaboratively, and the acceptance of open source solutions.
Please read these quotes for government employees who have learned about the OCG Waze project:
"Love everything about this project."
"This is how software should be developed."
"Great national collaborative project."
"Very excited about it."
"I think it is an amazing idea! "
"I think it's great to collaborate with these open source options in a consistent workflow."
"I am all for it."
"I think it is a wonderful helpful solution for many cities."
"Kudos to the team for all their efforts and sharing with the community."
"This is really a great initiative and will make it a lot easier to work with Waze data and avoid every city has to start from scratch!"
"Thank you for sharing this exciting opportunity!"