Washington D.C. in the Cloud


During the Gov 2.0 event last month, Washington, D.C. CTO Bryan Sivak said DC would create the infrastructure for the city that makes everyone a map maker in the cloud. The plan is to provide the Washingtonians easy tools to create our own mapping applications that can be augmented with additional data.

According to Information Week, these include his plans to create a private cloud that acts as a shopping experience for the IT manager. After adding a server to an online shopping cart, the order is completed and a server automatically spools up into the private cloud.

That’s not the map part but it shows the level of sophistication and the modern focus the city is adopting in order to develop an infrastructure that leverages the cloud for city operations and the community.

As for his geospatial goals, Sivak’s plan is to crowdsource the process of creating geodata that is layered on to map locations.

D.C. is now developing a series of templates and best practices to spark the development of mapping applications. For example, this might include support to create apps that provide pointers to city services or polling place locations.

Sivak also wants to provide ways for us to update city maps or augment maps with additional information such as the location of park benches and traffic lights. The idea is to take crowdsourcing to a higher level of detail by offering the capability to use this geospatial data to mark not just locations but documents and data relevant to the place.

This is awesome stuff!

I am very excited to see this kind of innovation being pushed at the City level.  The success of this project hinges on the City’s selection of Cloud platform… don’t confuse the ability spinning single vm’s with enterprise-class Cloud capabilities that GIS users need – like multi-tier applications and access to centralized data sources via NAS.

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