The last post about process got me thinking. Does anyone know if there
is an example or standard for publishing local city's process flows in
a machine readable format? Let me give you a little background on this
question and hopefully shed some light it. In November, when Open
Chattanooga was launching our Open Data Catalog, one of the coders
asked if there database of all the services the city provides. She was
trying to get her head around the type of services, data and potential
applications that could be of use to citizens. This got me thinking
about the thousands of little and big things that cities do that
almost no one knows about. Even working within a city, as I do, I know
only my small piece of the pie.
Around the same time some local neighborhood associations and
development corporations were looking for information about city owned
and tax sale properties. I did a little research and uncovered a
pretty convoluted system making it almost impossible to figure out the
process, let along track down the data. This got me thinking about the
need for not just a catalog of services but also processes so citizens
can navigate what can be pretty complex systems to get what they need.
Having all this mapped out would also be helpful in streamlining
processes, databases and applications so that they work better as a
coherent whole instead of the silos we see today. My idea behind
making it machine readable is that you could both develop APIs to
build local custom web apps / flow diagram visualizations and share
process flow information between cities. This would be something akin
to "open sourcing" the business process, so that cities can learn from
and build off each other.
Has anyone else been thinking along these lines? Are there any good
case studies / applications you could point me to? If not, I would
love to hear the thoughts of the Civic Commons community.