Parkadelphia: building Philadelphia's first street parking maplication
Street parking in Philadelphia is so difficult to navigate, it was the inspiration for a television show that ran for 5 seasons on AMC. That's right: there are parking enforcement officers in Philadelphia that have IMDB entries for playing themselves. While entertaining, it seemed to me that there might be some room to improve the way drivers could access parking rules and regulations.
After considering the layers of data that were needed and searching available open data sets, I realized they didn't exist (or weren't publicly released). So I set out to build my own: I started small, taking the text of city code and drawing the boundaries of the 34 residential permit parking districts by hand. The resulting map got the attention of the Parking Authority, and ultimately a job with the City of Philadelphia. It was also the first map I'd ever made.
Using open source tools including Mapbox, CartoDB and QGIS, a team of civic hackers from Code for Philly (a Code for America Brigade) is assembling the myriad of layers necessary to produce a complete reference of all parking rules in the city. With four city and state agencies responsible for street signage, it is a more complicated task than you'd think - but help has come from surprising sources. The Parking Authority has even opted to join the city's open data efforts. The resulting web application, which we're hoping to begin testing in 2015, will be Parkadelphia.org: the first complete street parking mapplication for Philadelphia.