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WeGov

PoplusCon: Lowering the Tech Barriers for Civic Startups

BY Eilís O'Neill | Friday, May 2 2014

Listening to the opening speeches at PoplusCon (credit: Eilis O'Neill)

Almost 100 civic coders and activists from 27 countries came together from April 29 to 30, in Santiago, Chile for PoplusCon where participants discussed how to create easy-to-use tools, what they call Poplus components, that allow civil society to create legislative monitoring websites. TechPresident reports on the conference from Santiago, Chile. Read More

WeGov

Dude, Where's My Cow? The App.

BY Rebecca Chao | Thursday, March 27 2014

If you live in Jamaica, losing a cow is serious business. Now, there's an app for that. (siwild/flickr)

About six months ago, we wrote about a new initiative in Jamaica that sought to address agricultural and livestock theft, a problem that has put a $50 million plus yearly dent in the country's economy. At that time, the civic tech nonprofit, Slashroots, had partnered with the Mona School of Business & Management at the University of the West Indies to create a new fellowship program called Code for the Caribbean; similar to Code for America, it pairs talented developers with government agencies to create tailored apps that agencies actually need. Now, that program has wrapped up and the fellows have collaborated with Jamaica's Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) to create two apps: one that allows police officers to use SMS to verify farmers' identities (and their produce) at specific roadside checkpoints and another that acts as an electronic billboard of produce stock and prices in order to fill an information gap that has often led either to agricultural overproduction or underproduction. Read More

Free the Data: The Debate Over APIs and Open Government

BY Alex Howard | Monday, March 17 2014

Photo: Jonathan Gray

As the use of application programming interfaces (APIs) catches on across government agencies, third-party developers, open government advocates, and government techies are debating whether this should become the gold standard for open data, and if so, whether such services should be free. Read More

First POST: Dirty Socks

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, January 14 2014

The one thing you should read about Emma and Bill Keller's "cancer-shaming" columns; the privacy issues embedded in the "internet of things"; Josh Cohen's Open Supporter Data Initiative; and much, much more. Read More

WeGov

Breathing New Life into Data with the "Scrapeathon"

BY Rebecca Chao | Monday, January 6 2014

The logo for Data Publica's Scrapathon (credit: Data Publica)

At the heart of most civic-oriented hackathons, those short 24-hour or so gatherings to code and create innovative apps for public good, is data. But many hackathons suffer from a lack of quality data or knowledge on where to find it, a problem that Benjamin Gans says he and his team at a for-profit data crunching company, Data Publica, noticed after attending and hosting a number of their own hackathons. They have coined the term "scrapathon" or scrapeathon to describe the new data scraping events they have begun hosting to give data a new and more purposeful life. Read More

First POST: Changing the Odds

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, November 27 2013

NSA and porn--you knew this conjunction was bound to happen; Internet freedom activists push Bitcoin as a blow for free speech and commerce; Washington insiders are hoping to update how the presidential debates integrate social media; and much, much more. Read More

Government Shutdown Sets Off Data and API Scramble

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, October 3 2013

Among the many casualties of the government shutdown are the websites and data sources that researchers, civic hackers and others use on a regular basis for a variety of online applications, visualization projects and studies. The disappearance of resources like data.gov and census.gov has forced those relying on the data to act quickly to find creative solutions or work together to gather backed-up information. Read More

Huffington Post Releases Polling Data for Developers

BY Miranda Neubauer | Monday, July 2 2012

The Huffington Post has begun offering API access to its polling data, a move that makes the data easily accessible to software developers, Andrei Scheinkman and Mark Blumenthal write. Read More

Census.gov's Data API is Now in Beta

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, June 7 2012

Census.gov/developers is now online, and the U.S. Census Bureau is offering developers beta API access to a summary table from the 2010 U.S. Census and to data from the 2010 American Community Survey. This makes it easier for developers to build web applications using Census Bureau data. Nextgov reported earlier this month that this move was on the way. Last month, federal officials announced a new strategy for digital government that calls for all U.S. agencies to provide API access to two "high-value" sets of data. Read More