Hello, Internet

January 08, 2018

Hey there, we're IET.

IET is a team of programmers in the Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT) at the City of Detroit.

We partner with City departments to build digital tools that solve civic problems and information challenges. We manage Detroit’s open data program and a portfolio of open-source projects that range from interactive maps to text and voice apps. Our work aims to simplify internal workflows, make data more accessible to residents, and help our City government be more responsive and connected.

IET stands for Innovation & Emerging Technology for now, but we're on a new year's mission to swap out "innovation" with something less buzzy. Say hello and drop ideas at

How we started

Our team came together about a year ago to "build cool things" with the small catch that there wasn't much of a foundation to build from. So, our first few months became dedicated to modernizing our ETL tools (read as tools to extract-transform-load data) and spinning up a more robust data warehouse.

We also built our first few apps, which notably included:

  • solid waste survey

    • DPW field inspectors used to paper survey commercial sites where the City picks up trash, but we helped them transition to a mobile survey that preloads parcel info
  • crime-viewer

    • Crime Viewer was designed and tested with Detroit's neighborhood radio patrol members who monitor crime stats and create filtered reports about their communities
  • demo-alerts

    • Demo Alerts is an SMS tool to share if, when and where demolitions are planned to occur near an address you care about and lead safe health tips
  • zoom-nineteen

    • This map breaks a lot of design rules and came together too quickly, but keeps reminding us that departments are eager to layer all the data and visualize City programs block-by-block, or affectionately at { 'zoom': 19 }

Something we didn't do so well in our first year was share what we built and how we did it beyond our close colleagues and Github READMEs, but this website and blog are our resolution to change that.

How we work today

We work in the open and in iterations; we approach projects by identifying a problem, testing new ideas and developing prototypes. We use open source libraries and share our work on Github.

We're currently excited to be building:

  • route-explorer

    • We're working with DDOT to redesign how we provide bus schedules on (spoiler: no longer exclusively printable PDFs)
  • detroit-js-sdk

    • We're building a support library that makes a lot City open data easily available with a single npm install
  • this website

    • This is built with Gatsby.js, a static site generator for React and GraphQL, and it's really just a very enjoyable developer experience

Contributions in the form of feature requests, bug reports and code patches are welcome to all our projects. Find notes on using Github issues and pull requests in our Code Standards repository, or send us an email.

How we'll be using this blog

You can expect to read about:

  • Open data changelogs: monthly updates and revisions for
  • Project launches: posts about tools or apps that we've built and how you can use them
  • Code snippets: technical tips, tricks, and cool things we're learning
  • Team updates: reflections and occasional job opportunities

Thanks for reading, and more soon.

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About IET

Get in touch:
Github @CityOfDetroit