Interactive Watervliet

watervliet interactive map screengrab

A screegrab of the neighborhoods layer.

The City of Watervliet launched a new interactive map today that includes information about voting districts, trash pick up, neighborhoods, building outlines and other municipal bits. The 'Vliet is touting it as the first of its kind in the Capital Region.

It's a good start. The map scores points for being easy to use. And a lot of the info could be helpful. A few things it doesn't offer that would make it better: crime reports and the ability for city residents to add info and "tag" it to a place. (Also, the city's website appears to need some serious updating -- the city council hasn't had a meeting since December?)

Still, Watervliet now has one of the better municipal websites in the Capital Region. That isn't saying much -- most city/town websites in this area are just plain bad. Cities in other places are doing much better jobs. For example, NYC has been making use of 311 to gather info from residents. And Chicago posts crime incident reports online (which helped prompt the project that eventually became EveryBlock). Obviously, local municipalities don't have the same resources as those big cities. But maybe they can draw some inspiration. Public data belongs to all of us -- we should have access to it.

One small thing that local officials could do to extend a digital hand to constituents: start using Twitter -- and actually engage people that way. In Troy, it's not uncommon to see Harry Tutunjian respond to specific requests via Twitter. And in Albany, common councilwoman Leah Golby seems to be constantly dialoging with people via the service.


They offer a pretty cool utility that allows users to submit issues in their area. I know they've been in contact with a lot of government agencies around the states to promote their service, which as far as I know is free.

Finally a town with a cool mapping and info system that you can actually use to get info you want.
Combined google, bing and property tax stuff..
government transparency I wish Troy and Albany would follow..

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