Citygram Saturday Huge Success

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Hi everyone

Wanted to report a great day of Citygram Saturday. The event was definitely a success, we had 6 new specialized NYC 311 feeds added to

6 New Specialized 311 Data Feeds

Thanks Noel, John, and Farheen!

Huge thanks to @noneck for organizing everything, the people, the space, the food and the motivation.

Special thank you to @excepttheweasel and @fma2 who provided amazing support and encouragement to the attendees.

New developers got started with ease

The day became a great learning experience for all, an attendee was able to set up his local machine for Citygram and Citygram Services development, some limited guidance was given on requiring Postgres locally and copying env vars file. Simple things we can update in the documentation.

This was easily the most active development we’ve seen on Citygram Services.

Socrata Dataset Offline

I had to chuckle to myself this morning when the Socrata Open Data site was down, thankfully while I was chuckling @noneck was pulling out all the stops to get things resolved before midday.

.@NYCDoITT the NYC #OpenData site isn't happy with @NYC311 data. I'm getting a spinning @socrata wheel. :-(

— noel hidalgo (@noneck) October 24, 2015

Thanks Clare at Socrata

The resolution was actually to use a different endpoint, this was resolved over twitter.

@noneck @dirkabroad Here ya go:

— Clare Zimmerman (@ClareZimmerman) October 24, 2015

Updated Socrata API

There was as a few issues with the upgraded dataset, whilst it was a hassle upgrading live, it was ultimately worth it.

LIKE query support wasn’t supported on the old endpoint, we absolutely needed it to do the work we did today.

Timestamps support seems broken we ended up having to hack the iso8206 data we sent the to the endpoint due to type comparison issues with the flexible_timestamp, check out this commit

city returning nil we haven’t bumped into this issue before (afaik), however we realized we didn’t need to include the city attribute anyway.

Lot’s of Usability Feedback

Now that we have all this specialized data, it’s time to think more about how people would use this tool, and how to make it more user friendly.

We’ll be following up with discussions about this in future threads.

Thanks everyone, I had a great day today, you’re all champions for having a go!


I’d love to know anything you came up with. If NYC has some ideas, Charlotte will be in position to execute some of them over the fall and winter. Of course, our localities are very different, but it’s at least something!

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A few of us are concerned about CityGram’s usability. Personally, I would love to select a location and then see all the data that falls under that location.

Also, some type of profile management would be nice. I have a whole bunch of subscriptions and it would be nice to see when / where what updates I’m getting.

I know that @fma2 @dirkkelly and @excepttheweasel have their own ideas.

Citygram was originally positioned as support for adoption of an open data portal for a locality. (City of Charlotte launched theirs behind Citygram in Dec. 2014.) And I do wonder if ultimately Citygram ought to be competing with open data portals on this functionality. But it was really eye-opening to me that Tulsa, OK is feeding Citygram directly from XML files published to the city’s website (!!) So there’s really a continuum there, and we would always have the ability to link to a “for more information…” that linked to an open data portal as well. I like this idea.

I like this idea a great deal, but I’m very keen on preserving the first experience of not having to conjure another username or password, or philosophically engage with what this operator is going to do with my Facebook graph in order to begin getting the notifications I came to the site for in the first place. Would it be reasonable to create such a profile after two or three subscriptions? Opt-in after the first subscription? What would be a gentle way to begin creating this profile? Or am I too defensive of the first experience?

How are you finding the profile of subscribers in NYC? At the mothership, our subscribers are not tech savvy. The current experience may be the extent of their comfort.

What do you think? And I’m happy to join in this thread or a new one about these ideas! NYC is such a leading light, and I’ve got a tremendous amount of respect for your vision @noneck. Let’s improve this software together!

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I don’t think that citygram should compete with an open data portal, but should have a life unto itself. It should be a tool that helps visualize data. More like a reverse foursquare of whats going on in your hood.

YES!! Can you start using the app and hit a point where you want to create or link multiple 'grams, you take that step. If this was a mobile / native app, this would be much easier.