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Citygram Build Status Test Coverage Maintainability

Citygram is a geographic notification platform designed to work with open government data. It allows residents to designate area(s) of a city they are interested in and subscribe to one or more topics. When an event for a desired topic occurs in the subscriber's area of interest, a notification (email, SMS, or webhook) is delivered. Citygram is a Code for America project by the Charlotte and [Lexington] teams for the [2014 fellowship].

Lexington [2014 fellowship]:

Why are we doing this?

We believe that there is an opportunity to help residents better understand what’s going on in their area, when it’s going to happen, and why. By providing timely information to residents in areas that are relevant to them, the city can be proactive instead of reactive, build trust through transparency, and increase civic engagement across the board.

Who is this made by?

See the contributors list.

Technical Overview

Citygram is a web application written in Ruby.

Installation and configuration


Option 1:

For an OSX setup, you can use vagrant to get up and running quickly with virtual box and homebrew. This option will provide you with a smooth straight forward way of quickly getting you up and running.

# setup homebrew
/usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL"

# setup virtualbox
brew cask install virtualbox

# starts up an ubuntu box and installs postgres and all other dependencies
vagrant up

# login to the box and start the program:
vagrant ssh
cd /vagrant
bundle exec foreman start

Option 2:

First, follow the instructions to install each of the following:

Then, in the command line, run the following to copy the citygram code locally and install all Ruby package dependencies:

git clone
cd citygram
bundle install

Configure Environment

Make sure your PostgreSQL server is running, then in the terminal run:

cp .env.sample .env
rake db:create db:migrate
rake db:create db:migrate DATABASE_URL=postgres://localhost/citygram_test

Running Citygram Website and Services

Basic things you'll want to do with your Citygram server:

Run the server

To boot up the complete application and run background jobs in development:

bundle exec foreman start

You can then open http://localhost:5000/ in your web browser.

Acquiring data

When you can run the application, you're capable of getting some example data.

Before running these commands, ensure foreman is running per the instructions in the previous section!

bundle exec rake publishers:download
bundle exec rake publishers:update

The first command downloads active publishers from Citygram. The second command will update those publishers from open data portals across the country.

Send a digest
rake digests:send
Send a a weekly Digest

For Heroku Scheduler users, there is a task that can be executed multiple times, but will only deliver mail on the environment's DIGEST_DAY.

ENV['DIGEST_DAY'] = 'wednesday'
rake digests:send_if_digest_day

Heroku Scheduler


As a developer you may want to:

Set up a Single City Installation

If you only need to support a single city you can specify the ROOT_CITY_TAG to bypass the index and load one city.

For example, is a single city installation with the following environment variable

Test the code

Run all tests in the spec/ directory, by running: