Last week Porto Alegre, Brazil launched datapoa, a new open data portal that gathers information directly from the city’s residents on themes including mobility, environment, geography, urban sanitation, and public health. The goal of datapoa is to encourage people to learn more about their city and participate in the development of intelligent solutions to urban problems. Datapoa is the latest addition to a growing movement of crowdsourcing in urban development and accessibility.
In datapoa’s mobility sector, four data sets will be created related to traffic accidents, public transport, bus service, and Bike PoA, Porto Alegre’s bike sharing system. Since datapoa is an open source platform, anyone in possession of information to share – whether they are students, programmers, journalists, researchers, entrepreneurs, or otherwise – may contribute to the collaborative effort to compile data. Ultimately, the goal of datapoa is to identify the city’s weaknesses and create solutions to improve services – including improved public transport and non-motorized transport infrastructure.
Following the example of São Paulo’s Ônibus Hackathon (Hackatona do Ônibus), hackers and programmers participated in a hackathon to help develop datapoa’s applications and software, and ensure that the portal is transparent and user-friendly. Although datapoa’s website doesn’t boast a considerable amount of data yet, it is hoped that with collective public participation the volume of data will continue to grow.
Datapoa reflects a broader attempt in the field of urban development to tap into the wealth of information urban residents possess about their city. After all, who can better brainstorm solutions for a community than the community members themselves?
To see footage of the datapoa hackathon, check out this video (in Portuguese):
This post was originally published in Portuguese on TheCityFix Brazil on November 14, 2013.