Safety Data Jam connects Tech Innovators with Public Safety Officers

Government data are being released in unprecedented quantities as part of the Administration’s commitment to increase transparency, public participation, and collaboration. A lot of these data have to do with public safety and can be found at the recently launched Safety Data Community — The liberation of government datasets is important in itself, but  data are truly powerful when used in the development of informative apps. Last month, OSTP and the Department of Transportation co-hosted a Safety Data Jam at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building that brought together 40 leaders from technology, public safety, and government communities to discuss public safety challenges and to brainstorm creative new solutions that leverage open government safety data. Our goal was to come up with novel ways to help people make informed decisions about their safety and the safety of others.

Below is a sampling of some of the ideas generated from the jam session:

  • Bike share app that provides the location of the nearest bike share and safest route to various destinations
  • Social media emergency validation analysis that matches tweets with words such as “crash,” “accident,” or “fire” at a time and place with historical data from actual emergencies
  • Common database of product barcodes, or Universal Product Codes (UPC), to help websites use UPC-based product-recall data to determine if a product you are considering purchasing on an auction or classified site has been recalled
  • App that provides up-to-date building code violation alerts for first responders
  • Platform that allows off-duty public service officers to be alerted voluntarily about nearby emergencies
  • Personal safety mapping solution that takes into account traffic accidents and weather data to determine the safest route to a destination
  • Nationwide access to restaurant health inspection reports for integration into apps
  • Easy-to-use safety data mashup tool, allowing non-techies to quickly overlay safety data onto local maps
  • Emergency preparedness checklists for residents and business owners
  • Apps that help drivers monitor their sleepiness and alertness

We’re challenging entrepreneurs and innovators to develop tools based on these ideas and others. We’ll showcase a cross-section of the most innovative solutions at the first annual Safety Datapalooza, which will be held in September. If you’re interested in showcasing your safety solution powered by open government data at the Palooza, please click here.

Sincere thanks to all of the participants in the first-ever Safety Data Jam!

Todd Park is the US Chief Technology Officer, Brian Forde is Advisor to the CTO on Mobile and Data Innovation, and Jo Strang is Chief Safety Officer for the Federal Railroad Administration.

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