Archive for the Government Transparency Category

Government Transparency: Data.gov

Posted in Government Transparency with tags , , , on September 12, 2009 by Josh Wittner

The OSTP (Office of Science and Technology Policy)  announced the winner of its Apps for America contest today.  The contest sought to inspire private citizens and organizations to create useful tools for analyzing the data available in its new website data.gov. The website is another step by the Obama Administration to increase governmental transparency by increasing the people’s access to governmental data.

The winner of the contest was a site called DataMasher which allows the user to merge data sets to create cool state based graphs like Party Contributions by State, or the most reproductive, or one that shows the inequality in federal spending by comparing spending per state to population, or one showing the failure of the system to accurately represent population in the House. Pretty cool stuff.

Some other cool projects that resulted from the contest were govpulse, which provides easy filterable access to the federal register for the first time in US history and This We Know which provides easy access to government data about your community, like which city has the least or most toxins, or which has the lowest or highest unemployment rates, or even which city is the most nomadic.  Again, pretty cool stuff.

An open and transparent government is the only kind of government that the people can truly have power over. It makes me happy to see this administration using the immense power of the internet and technology to enhance those aspects of our government, to give the advocates of truth a way to fight our government when it fails to be honest and defend it against lies when it succeeds to be so.