This document provides guidelines and examples for White House Web APIs, encouraging consistency, maintainability, and best practices across applications. White House APIs aim to balance a truly RESTful API interface with a positive developer experience (DX).
We’ve been covering the topics of open government and open data since nearly the start of The Changelog. More recently, we covered the city of Chicago being on Github and how they open sourced various datasets for civic and commercial usage. Needless to say, the topics open government and open data is something we hackers get excited about.
Wednesday — March 13th (2013), Michael Byrne, Geographic Information Officer for the FCC, announced a new project on Twitter, and welcomes your help to improve it.
Much of the data in government coffers is contained in spatial databases. A large percentage of government spatial data is ESRI software. While the common interchange format, the ESRI Shapefile, is easily exported and imported by many other softwares, this data file format (the Shapefile) is not intrinsically part of the www ecology.
Basically, many government agencies use proprietary software, such as ESRI software, to do their day to day data storage and analysis, but getting that data out and into an open data format like CSV, JSON, or GeoJSON takes some extra effort — esri2open helps to solve this problem.
Anyone can now change the data when new bike paths are built, when roads are under construction, and new buildings are erected. When you want to improve our data, just fork it. Users are encouraged to improve data accuracy, combine it with other data sources, or download and use it for analysis or a new app.
Users have the right to download, modify, or use it for any purpose, including commercialization.
This means that projects like OpenStreetMaps will be able to add over 2GBs of Chicago data to their site. This also means that companies and Chicago startups who would like to leverage this data are able to as part of daily business.
Adam and Wynn caught up with Erik and Max, Fellows at Code for America to talk about civic-focused development and open source. Items mentioned in the show: Apply now to be a 2012 Code for America Fellow – Deadline is July 31 LSRC V is just around the corner Follow @TheSassWay for your Sass news […]
Adam and Wynn caught up with Carl Tashian from Open Government to talk about OpenGovernment.org, OpenCongress.org, and the rise of the Citizen Coder. Items mentioned in the show: Carl Tashian is Director of Technology at Open Government OpenGovernment: Empower individuals and organizations to track government at every level OpenCongress.org – open source Rails app to […]
In the same way that Fog aims to be the “Ruby cloud services library” by providing an all-in-one bundle of wrappers for popular cloud services including Amazon, Rackspace, and others, GovKit from OpenGovernment is a Swiss Army Knife of government API wrappers. GovKit currently supports:
OpenCongress, which has an API for federal bills, votes, people, and news and blog coverage
You’ll need to grab API keys for each service you want use. If you’re running Rails, GovKit includes a handy generator for creating an initializer to hold your config info in config/initializers/govkit.rb:
When 9 Trillion dollars goes missing from the Federal Reserve and the Federal Inspector General can’t explain the details of that missing money, what can “we” the people do about it? (See a visualization of 1 Trillion Dollars)
Watch this YouTube video to learn more about this insane debacle. Sadly, Alan Grayson (the questioner) never asked the simple closed-ended question, “So, is that a Yes or No?”. However, collectively, we can ask that question if we have open access to government data.
While OpenGovernment may not provide the answer to that specific question directly, it will certainly provide a level of government transparency like we’ve never seen before at the state, city, local and international levels.
What is OpenGovernment?
OpenGovernment is an open-source Ruby on Rails application for aggregating and presenting open government data, and it is based on OpenCongress.org, the most-visited not-for-profit site for tracking the federal U.S. Congress.
A ‘beta’ version of OpenGovernment is planned to launch this month (January 2011) with information for five state legislatures: California, Louisiana, Maryland, Texas, and Wisconsin.
Moving forward, they are looking for non-profit funding to extend civic engagement to all 50 U.S. states, major cities, other countries, and beyond. Just as OpenCongress has grown to become a popular community site for watchdogging the U.S. Congress, OpenGovernment will empower individuals and organizations to track government at every level. And like OpenCongress, OpenGovernment is a non-partisan public resource, independent from any government entity or political party.
Their biggest limiting factor isn’t ideas, or a lack of valuable government info to make accessible, but rather web development time. There’s a huge wish list of data & features for this open-source community site, so hop in #opengovernment on irc.freenode.net, or join their Google Group to get in touch. Also, the project’s README is super thorough in setting up the application to start hacking.
Adam and Wynn caught up with Luigi Montanez and Jeremy Carbaugh from Sunlight Labs and discussed their Python and Ruby projects, government transparency, and civic hacking – open source contributions as activism. Items mentioned in the show: Real Time Congress – iPhone app for keeping tabs on Congress, built with Appcelerator Titanium Anthill – Django-powered […]