By Christopher Wink
For Technically Philly
For those of you keeping track of city-sanctioned, good government web apps, you may have noticed a prominent one that still hasn’t landed.
Last fall, a public-private partnership was set to launch ‘License to Inspect,’ a robust search tool for the city’s Licenses and Inspections permits, applications and violations that was billed as the most advanced transparency and efficiency tool in Philadelphia’s digital age, as Technically Philly first reported. The tool was planned to be driven by a scalable, dependable API that would pipe in departmental data and would be able to be repurposed for other city agencies.
It was to be a city data tool being shared more widely by leaner, more agile private groups.
Despite then already being more than two years in the making and having seeming buy-in from all those involved — the city’s Department of Licenses and Inspections, the city IT office, independent news site PlanPhilly, private geospatial developer Azavea and the William Penn Foundation — the end-of-2011 deadline came and went. Soon after, stakeholders planned for an official launch during Philly Tech Week in April. That didn’t happen either.
The launch event was scratched — some at L&I said they never agreed to it — and the project was punted back to the bureaucratic ether, with no firm deadlines, promises or goals, even as Mayor Nutter announced a detailed executive order pledging just such good government initiatives.
But now, those involved say, this summer — indeed, even as soon as the end of this month — could see the launch of an L&I web tool. Now, we’ve heard such deadlines before, so instead, this story is that what will be launching is an entirely different project altogether.