Dom Post: Fallen trees, blocked drains? Report it online, says web adviser

Claire McEntee of the Dominion Post writes about advice from technology advisor Nat Torkington that web services need to be implemented to allow people to better interact with their local governments.

An important part of such services would be the freeing up of local government data for use by these services, which might enable people to do everything from easily reporting blocked street drains to more efficient house-hunting.

An excerpt: (read in full here)

“Local governments in New Zealand need to release the data they collect and “lower the barriers” so third-party software developers can create these kinds of services.

“Much of this data is currently “locked up”. Quotable Value, for example, refuses to release data showing the sales history of properties, he says.

“Local governments that have taken the plunge are reaping the benefits, he says. The District of Columbia in Washington DC ran a contest encouraging citizens to create iPhone, Facebook and web applications using a swag of data on crime, school test results, poverty, and property history.

“”They got what they valued to be US$2.3 million worth of software.””