Aaron believes that software can be used to build for a better world, and he loves designing applications to make cities more livable, beautiful, and just. While a fellow at Code for America, he partnered with the City of Philadelphia to build solutions to help foster civic engagement. He specializes in JavaScript and GIS development and has contributed to such applications as reroute.it, septa.mobi, changeby.us, walkshed.org, and phillystormwater.org. He is now a senior developer at OpenPlans. Besides a tech geek, Aaron is an outdoorsman, an urbanist, and a devoted husband and father.

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OpenDataPhilly.org Launches in Philadelphia


This is a great week for Philadelphia, my home town. Just yesterday, Philadelphia joined the ranks of Washington D.C., Seattle, and San Francisco with the launch of OpenDataPhilly.org, an online catalog of Philadelphia data and a platform for future innovative civic apps.

These civic data catalogs matter because they open and make available important data about a city, from the bicycle network to local high school graduation rates. In the hands of smart people, this data can be analyzed for important metrics or used to power apps that make a city more accessible, safe, or fun.

Unlike most other open data catalogs, this one is not just a city project. OpenDataPhilly was a cross-sector collaboration, a cooperative effort between many forward-thinking people in the city government and the private sector. As such, OpenDataPhilly is not just a source of government data, but also includes data from multiple commercial and non-profit entities. These are all made available through 36 APIs, 64 datasets, and more than 50 apps including PHL API, the location-based API built at Code for America’s Philly Data Camp. (Check out CfA’s John Mertens’ post on PHL API to learn more.)

OpenDataPhilly Splash Page

For all the details about the creation of the site, please check out this great blog post by Azavea, the local web shop who built OpenDataPhilly. (Full disclosure: I was employed by Azavea before becoming a CfA fellow.)

Since Philadelphia is a Code for America city (and we love open data), our team is polishing off a simple mobile application to demonstrate some of the fun and useful things that can be done OpenDataPhilly data. More details later in the week.

Many congratulations to our friends in Philadelphia who had a hand in the creation of the OpenDataPhilly site and opening the data that powers it!

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