Code for America started as an idea in 2009: to bring technologists into public service in partnership with cities. Over the last few years, a broad network has come together behind that idea, and our programs have grown. Esri, thanks to the generosity of founder and president Jack Dangermond, has been behind us from the beginning, every step of the way, as a strong supporter of Code for America and the Fellows.
CfA is grateful to announce Esri’s continued generous support in 2013. “We’re thrilled to have Esri’s long-term support in shaping our programs. In the time we’ve worked together we’ve not only built out the Fellowship, but we’ve also launched three new programs. As we grow, our partnership with Esri has also evolved,” said Code for America’s Co-Executive Director Bob Sofman.
Most recently, Esri invited a group from CfA to join the thousands of attendees at their User Conference in San Diego this July. San Diego Brigade Captain Jeffrey Johnson spread the word about CfA’s programs, and former Fellows from all three of our civic startup Incubator companies attended to demo their products and learn about integrating Esri tools. “I really appreciated the deep conversations we were able to have with city staff, GIS professionals, startups, and of course Esri,” said LocalData’s Matt Hampel. “We connected in person with some of the folks who are directly supporting our work. And we’re excited about how integrating ESRI data tools into our product will make that much more useful for our customers.”
They also found time to host a little civic tech happy hour one evening. Prashant Singh, Matt’s LocalData colleague, told me that “the Esri user conference brought together so many motivated people, it turned out to be a great way to meet interesting, data-minded folks from the Bay Area, hundreds of miles from home. People were in a mood to learn and share.”
A Fruitful Partnership
CfA Fellows’ projects have used ArcGIS and Esri APIs in too many ways to count. We’ve created public interfaces and maps based on Esri-driven city backends – like OpenCounter, which looks up zoning in Santa Cruz using the city’s Esri ArcGIS server. Top Esri employees have helped us develop our process for new civic data standards, helping CfA identify patterns in city datasets. Last year a group of Fellows even made the trip down to Esri’s headquarters in Redlands, Calif. for a week-long collaborative hackathon with the City of Honolulu GIS team, and Fellows have attended and spoken at Esri conferences over the past two years. All three Incubator companies are considering how to integrate Esri tools into their products for geo-related features.
This year, their partnership supports our new Peer Network and our civic start-ups programs. And Esri will once again be sponsoring Code for America’s annual Summit – they were one of the first companies to champion this gathering last year, including a great panel on open data and meaningful maps that Bronwyn Agrios coordinated at the day three unconference. If you’ll be joining us this October, make sure to connect with the Esri team this year and get an update on what they’re working on.
The local San Francisco civic tech community has benefitted from the Esri team now has a full-time presence here in the city by the bay. They’re supporting the Open Legislation Civic Hack Night tomorrow that CfA is organizing in partnership with the SF Mayor’s Office of Civic Innovation, sf.citi, and GitHub. Register here and come join us.
Thank you, Esri, for sharing the vision of CfA from the beginning. We are grateful for your generosity and look forward to continuing to work together.
Questions? Comments? Hit us up @codeforamerica.