Monday, February 22, 2010

Scenes from LA Ruby Conference - 2010 -Civic Hacking

Take Away

Luigi showed how government has lots of useful data but few tools to make sense of the data. Here's where software developers can make a contribution: to build free tools to make this data more accessible. He talked about the various opportunities and why accomplishing them would make a real difference.


Luigi Montanez

Purpose: get government to open up its data and provide software tools to comprehend it.

Over a thousand people in their effort.

16-paid staff.

"D.C. is Hollywood for ugly people."

Guiding principles:
  • Electoral Politics no
  • Governance yes
  • Open source
Civic Side Projects

  • Challenging entrenched bureacracies
  • Open source + Open data = better Government
  • Government opens data; they write apps aeround it.
  • Government as a wholesaler, not retailer.
Sunlight Labs API
  • Bio and contact info for elective office holders.
  • Contributions
    • Example: how much health insurance money has been spent politically and how. - Bills and Vote Records - Vote Influence
  • How representative voted correlated w/ donations.
Code for America
  • Will choose 5 cities
  • 5 developers will be supplied to each of those cities.
  • Modeled after Teach for America program.
Getting Involved.
  • #transparency on Freenode
  • github didn't get actual repository
  • Enhance your skillset
  • Low risk, high reward
  • Another testing framework? Really?
  • Local/state govts. an untapped market
  • Solve a hard problem.
TED Talk
  • David Cameron: in a Ted talk "The next age of government"

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