BetaCityYEG is a regular meetup connecting public employees, citizens, and members of Edmonton’s tech/data community in order to address the city and region’s pressing issues. The group meets monthly at the Startup Edmonton Space for a casual Wednesday meetup (the 4th Wednesday of the month). BetaCityYEG is not officially affiliated with the City of Edmonton, but employees of the city, as well as the province and nonprofits, present issues their organizations are grappling with to the BetaCityYEG group for discussion. The BetaCityYEG team includes data analysts, geospatial experts, programmers, web designers, statisticians, and a range of tech-related skilled citizens. These diverse skill sets allows for vibrant discussions that are informed by understanding an issue holistically from a data management perspective. The intent is also to allow citizens and various groups with data/policy issues to present to the group for similar input.
In addition to discussing the issues presented, BetaCityYEG also proactively pursues innovative digital engagement and data collection tools, beta testing and testing for feasibility. The group will benefit from the Code For America network of citizen “Brigades” which create new technology solutions and share their experience and code with fellow organizations. It is not the intention of this group to create final products with extended shelf-lives for the general public, but rather, the group will function as a low-risk innovation lab for new technology. The group will work with University of Alberta’s Centre of Public Involvement and various members of the university faculty and students during the tests in order to advance research in the fields of digital engagement/public data analytics.