Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sunlight Labs & Apps for America @ Gov 2.0 Summit

At the Gov 2.0 Summit Clay Johnson, Director of Sunlight Labs, gave an overview of the very successful Apps for America program and some of the entries. For example, DataMasher, which allows you to take two sets of data and merge them. Popular mashups include: total political contributions to Democrats divided by total political contributions to Republicans by state. There is another that maps the "states with the highest reporoductive rates," to highlight which state has the most babies per capita (answer: Utah).

Another application, Govpulse, take the Federal Register, a government publication that is very difficult to read, and changes it into something that is organized and searchable by federal department and geography.

Also there is This We Know, which enables users to create an instant snapshot of key data about a particular area, such as their hometown, to determine the number of factories, crimes, demographics, and even people diagnosed with cancer.

"Government truly is a platform," said Clay. The role of government is that of "a wholesaler of data," he said. This model of interactive, data-rich information offers some interesting possibilities for both users and government.

This was an incredibly interesting presentation and one of my favorites from the Summit.

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