I took some time Saturday morning to attend part of CityCamp, an event at the University of Hawaii put on by the City and County of Honolulu.

Our Honolulu reporter Michael Levine attended in the afternoon and wrote about it in his Inside Honolulu blog.

It’s sometimes said that the media should report more good news.

Well, Saturday I saw something positive that’s worth sharing. The Department of Information Technology, a government agency led by Gordon Bruce and Forest Frizzell, along with the city’s managing director, Doug Chin,opened the door to input and collaboration from Honolulu’s tech community. The event was packed, with about 140 people signed up to participate. Even the state’s new chief information officer, Sonny Bhagowalia, came.

You can read more about the event on Facebook and Twitter.

But a couple of observations:

  • The idea of a web API law, essentially requiring the city to build its websites in such a way that anybody in the community can pull the data and present it in a new way, seemed to have a lot of support. What a fantastic concept! Just that the city would start from the position that the data is public and citizens should be able to do imaginative things with it that government may not have thought of or may not be able to do because of financial limitations. In the era of the app, this makes total sense.

  • The idea came up of posting all responses to open records requests on the city’s cando website. This would mean that everybody would benefit from the work done to gather data to respond to a request.

Bottom line: It’s exciting to see citizens and government officials working together. There’s no question more can be accomplished that way.

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