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March 30th: Improving NYC with Airtable

Airtable is a “spreadbase” that combines the ease-of-use of a spreadsheet with the power of a custom, relational database.

We’ve seen how people can use Airtable to modernize information management processes within government agencies and other large organizations and want more people working in and around NYC government to use it!

As such, we’re offering a free, one hour, Airtable workshop for people working to improve NYC.

The training is scheduled for Tuesday March 30th at 4PM and will be conducted via Google Meet.

The basic agenda of the workshops is:

  • An introduction to the “spreadbase” concept
  • Basic training on Airtable using a real-world use case
  • How to use Airtable to prototype custom software
  • Airtable Community Q&A

This training is open to anyone, but our preference is for people who live in NYC and either:

  • work in NYC or NYS government
  • work at nonprofits in NYC
  • have a #civictech or community project that improves NYC

This workshop will be modelled after previous workshops we’ve done for OReilly Media and NYC Open Data Week.

This workshop is a nonprofit program of WeGovNYC and is not associated with the company that makes Airtable.

Open Data Week Session: What Would You Build with Normalized NYC Open Data? What If WeGov.NYC?

NYC produces lots of great open data, but its often hard to use because UIDs in one dataset don’t match with UIDs in another.

So we’ve built an open source toolset to “normalize” data and republish it via API. Then we built some apps on top of it. And you can too!

Our first app is “DataBook”, an ever-evolving city agency directory tying over a dozen (and counting) datasets together to give people easy access to information about their government: agency budgets, staff contact info, capital projects, facilities and more!

Our goal is to make DataBook the most comprehensive website about city government operations – built entirely with open data and APIs.

Our other goal is to be part of something more: an alliance of people and projects helping each other produce the solutions our city needs to create the city we all deserve.

The session agenda:

  • A brief discussion about how great open data is and how much greater it would be if it there were more UIDs shared between datasets.
  • What datasets do you want to see normalized?
  • An explanation for how WeGov.NYC normalizes data and republishes it via API.
  • A brief tour of Databook.
  • An invitation for you to use our normalized city data and our API.
  • What projects are you working on? How can we help you?

See the official session description here.

Open Data Week Session: You Can Build It! — Going from Spreadsheets to Airtable to Apps

During this workshop, WeGovNYC founder Devin Balkind shows participants how to build useful apps with Airtable, and how to use other free, widely used technology (Google Slides and Figma) to create shovel-ready, software specifications that users, developers and decisionmakers can actually understand and collaboratively improve.

The tools described in the workshop can make the whole software development process less intimidating and more accessible, enabling you to get better feedback from your stakeholders and build apps faster, better and cheaper.

For people working in change resistant organizations. these tools and techniques can enable you to get “complex” database design and implementation work done from the bottom up, and in a way that minimized institutional resistance to change and maybe even avoids unnecessary approval processes.

This training is best for people who:

  • are managing lots of spreadsheets and wish they “all connected”
  • are now or want to build apps that organize complex information

Video recording of the session will be posted shortly.