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GitHub Launches Showcase of Government-Citizen Collaborations

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Tuesday, October 15 2013

GitHub, the social coding startup in San Francisco, launched a new portal Tuesday to showcase some of the more interesting civic collaborations between governments around the world and their citizens.

"Governments at all levels have been using GitHub for some time now to build better, more accessible websites, publish laws and data, and even collaborate on policies themselves," said GitHub's Government 2.0 Evangelist Ben Balter in a blog post Tuesday morning. "Today we're proud to announced the launch of government.github.com, a website dedicated to showcasing the amazing efforts of public servants and civic hackers around the globe."

The White House has maintained a presence on GitHub for some time, but so have the governments of Argentina, Australia, Canada, Finland, Norway, the United Kingdom, and dozens of cities and states both domestically and around the globe.

The White House shares the code for its "We the People" petitions, and the city of Chicago has, for example, published geographic data files on city bike routes, streets, and building footprints. Citizens have sent in requests to make changes to the files based on errors that they've noted. In turn, city officials updated its datasets based on those notes 100 times. The role that GitHub plays is that it tracks the changes and the discussions around them. (GitHub Co-Founder Scott Chacon spoke about some of those collaborations at PDF this summer.)

The showcase should serve as a useful resource to governments and citizens everywhere looking to share project ideas and solutions. Balter will be part of a panel discussion at the Code for America Summit, Tuesday at 4.15pm, on building the open government ecosystem.