Open APIs for Open Government Data

Location: F150
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This talk will give a broad overview of data sets and APIs in the Open Government space, with a focus on four APIs from the Sunlight Foundation and its partner organizations. The Transparency Data API offers both fine-grained and aggregate information on a variety of political influence data, including campaign finance, earmarks, lobbying, and federal spending. Real Time Congress provides extensive and up-to-date information on the daily workings of congress, including information on bills, lawmarks, votes and lots more. Open States is an effort to provide similar information about the 50 state legislatures. Finally, the Congress API provides essential biographical information on members of congress, facilitating linking between various 3rd party APIs.

For each data set we will cover the data available, the effort that goes in to collecting and currating the information, and a some examples of open source applications built on the data. These applications are mostly aimed at making citizens more aware of the workings of the government and of the influence of money in politics. We specifically make an attempt to go beyond sites that are simple repositories of information. Towards that end we’ll discuss browser extensions, bookmarklets, print media and mobile apps.

The talk will be accessible to developers and non-developers. The participants should leave with a broad picture of the available data and the sorts of applications that can be built on top of it.

Photo of Ethan Phelps-Goodman

Ethan Phelps-Goodman

Sunlight Foundation

Ethan Phelps-Goodman is a Sr. Software Developer at the Sunlight Foundation, where he leads the Data Commons project. His work focuses on combining various sources of data—campaign finance, lobbying, earmarks, voting records, contracts, etc.—into a comprehensive tool for investigating money and influence in politics.