Greenway app an example of public-private data sharing
Posted September 27, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — Government agencies collect a lot of data, but getting that data in a useful form can be tough. Raleigh's annual City Camp event is a hack-a-thon where participants brainstorm with local governments about how to put open-source data and technology to work. One of the most popular products to emerge is the RGreenway app.
In a little over a year, thousands of people have installed this mobile guide that helps them enjoy the outdoors. RGreenway is short for Raleigh Greenway, officially the Capital Area Greenway System.
The system's 100-plus miles of trails can be tough to navigate without a good map. RGreenway is here to help.
"The cool thing about this app is that it lets you know where all the greenways are in Raleigh," said Eric Majewicz, a software developer at SAS Institute who volunteered to help create the RGreenway app.
But it is more than a map. The app shows how trails connect, measures walking or biking distance and shows the weather forecast all in one place.
"It was really a unique need that we tried to solve with this app," Majewicz said.
The idea was born at City Camp 2012.
Organizer Jason Hibbets, who works at Red Hat, said a greenway user spoke up.
"She said, 'Hey, how many people get lost on the greenway?' and a lot of hands went up," he said.
The volunteer team used free data the city already had.
"We were able to get this really extensive map of all the greenways as well as all the parking locations for Raleigh," Majewicz said.
More than 14,000 downloads later, RGreenway is a hit.
Hibbets said the app is an example of how people and government can work together to make valuable information easier to find.
"I think the RGreenway app is a good example of taking the data the city has and using it in a new way," he said.
The RGreenway app is free and includes greenway information for Raleigh and Cary. It's available in the App Store for iPhones and iPads and the Google Play Store for Android devices.