Building the Open, Replicable Civic Web with GeoCouch

Max Ogden (Independent)
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First is an introduction to the GeoCouch and CouchDB APIs for inserting and pulling geographic data, as well as how to geospatially index that data.

CouchDB can also host fully featured HTML+JS applications. Such applications are referred to as CouchApps. I will show some example open source CouchApps that I have developed for visualizing open government and civic web data in Portland, OR, including mobile applications using PhoneGap and Titanium, as well as desktop applications using OpenLayers, Google Maps and Polymaps.

Because CouchDB has a built in replication API, you can also replicate Couch data between any two CouchDB servers, so if someone else in your community compiles a list of all of the sushi restaurants, it is a one click operation to replicate the full dataset into your own Couch. This is the essence of the civic web.

Civic web applications can range from an iPhone application to show what beers are available at local bars to a web app to discuss upcoming city council agendas. The essential component of the civic web is enabling application developers to draw from and contribute to community accessible, community generated open data. The bigger the civic web gets, the more interesting and powerful the applications will get.

Photo of Max Ogden

Max Ogden


Max Ogden is a civic web and open government developer from Portland, OR but is currently operating as a Code for America fellow in San Francisco. In Portland, Max built a data interface between regional governments and community developers in the form of PDXAPI. With Code for America, Max is working on opening up as much government data as possible.

  • Nokia
  • OnStar
  • Esri
  • AT&T Interactive
  • Google
  • Rackspace Hosting
  • AND Automotive Navigation Data
  • C3 Technologies
  • Ditto
  • Facebook
  • Factual
  • MapQuest
  • Microsoft Corporation

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