This is a short, late summary of our first event run with the city of Fort Collins on September 5, 2019. Quick summary: the events are codenamed FCx, the next one will be February 6, 2020, and you can find out about the project at the Our City portal.

What was presented at the first event?

In general, we pulled together a slew of “making the city better with data” talks from city staff. In the future we’re hoping to have slightly more focused nights, in addition to the more free-form kind we have right now.

City Flood Monitoring

First we heard about the city’s flood early-waring systems. Spurred on my the 1997 flood, the city has a network of some 20-30 water-depth gauges. And what’s more, you can see up to the minute. Unfortunately, I forgot the URL and couldn’t find it in a quick search.

Traffic Stuff

Did you know that the city has real-time traffic data. Do you know how? Basically, it just listens for your phone or car’s bluetooth. Then it uses that data to know how quick you’ve gone between the major intersections of this city.

As you might guess, this is way better than the one-time tube-counts that the city has been doing for twenty years. And it empowers the traffic department to know if big capital projects are actually making the city’s traffic flow faster. And it’s working :)

Utility Usage and new ideas

We learned about how important it is to ask specific question of data. By talking through the example of “do I use more power than average?” we learned a great deal about how easy it is to follow that to a bad answer, and how important it is that we ask clarifying questions.

See you Next Time

As mentioned above, we’re intending to run the next FCx event in February. Have a topic you’d love to see us cover at FCx. Please push that question to the Our City Portal:

[Editor’s note: Sorry to the presenters for not acknowledging you by name. I didn’t write them down. If you know the presenters names, please email me as]