Doneliza Joaquin: Why I’m Coding for America

As an urban planner, I am forever intrigued by the organic and dynamic growth of cities in infrastructure, design, policy, and technology. The networks for transportation, communication, and the sharing of resources are constantly changing as cities seek to innovate and adapt to evolving needs and the accessibility to these resources. This adaptation is reliant on the ongoing amassing of data that governments, private companies, and the public acquire and has only further increased, both in its collection and in gaining attention, with big data and crowdsourcing as accelerants to the trend.

While the archive of datasets multiplies, cities should be mindful of the curation of data not just its compilation. How can the GPS data of taxi trips inform the need for other transportation options like bike-share, buses, ferries, or car-sharing programs? What can cities learn about data collection and distribution from aggregators such as Twitter and Instagram?

As a 2013 Code for America Fellow, I am interested in how datasets are collected, accessed, and updated. Additionally, when structured and formatted, how can data provide the targeted users a platform to make better-informed choices? How and to whom information is disseminated is critical in how users interpret data and I want to be part of Code for America to assist cities in revising systems for data collection as well as data dispersion.

I believe strongly in the use of data visualizations to bring attention to topics and issues that affect cities and their citizens. Data integrated in the form of maps has the potential to provide detailed information about trends and patterns that can be readily understood by a wide range of users. Paying attention to the visuals and user experience of data interpretation is an essential component of the successful cycle of transforming raw data into valuable information for decision-making.

I am exited to take part in this opportunity and be involved in the innovation and evolution of cities’ relationship with data and technology initiated by the cities themselves.

You can code for America too. We’re accepting applications for the 2014 Fellowship now through July 31. Apply here:

Questions? Comments? Hit us up @codeforamerica.

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