The Office of the Law Revision Counsel in the United States of House of Representatives has launched a new beta site for the U.S. Code.
April 7th, 2010 was Open Government Day in the United States. Many of the key requirements of the Open Government Directive issued by the Obama administration came due. A year later, the people charged with carrying out the plans, policies and projects that came out of that directive are starting to deliver upon some of the digital initiatives. NASA just held its first open source summit. FCC.gov relaunched as an open government platform.
There’s much more going on in the open government movement than new federal websites or revamped software policy, however, than most citizens or even other government workers and officials may realize.
According to the list of federal open government projects compiled by Angie Newell during her doctoral dissertation, there are currently 358 federal open government projects. Y
As Andy Kryzmarzik explained this morning in a post on Govloop, this terrific infographic is the results of a collaboration between Newell, NYC professor Beth Noveck and GOOD. Nancy Scola has aptly called a map of the US open government world. You can explore the graphic below or access a larger version open government infographic as a PDF. If you click on the numbers, you’ll be taken to a subset of projects in the database hosted on Govloop.
Here’s the backstory from Krzmarzick on how the infographic was created:
As serendipity would have it, I met both Beth and Angie Newell at Manor.Govfresh in September, where I learned that Angie was working on a doctoral dissertation and had already completed much of the data collection already…but she couldn’t quite share it yet as she was completing a bit more analysis and adding some additional information. In the meantime, she’s provided some analysis of the project here and here.
Fast forward to a month ago. By now, Beth had departed the White House…and Angie finalized the dataset with all 350+ open government projects. So Beth connected us with the GOOD guys (and I mean that literally – special shout out to Casey Caplowe and Oliver Munday). Our goal was to create a useful visualization that made it easy to find the data and they’re kinda known for their great infographics.
You can browse all of the open government projects in the database below.
This infographic and and database is useful for learning what’s out there in federal open government plans. That said, there’s no clear assessment of the quality of outcomes in that graphic. Understanding what exists, however, is a valuable first step, and I look forward to the analysis of the Govloop community and the larger open government ecosystem as more of these projects are implemented. Not every open government project will result in the creation of a health internet but they’re all important to someone.
If you read Steven B. Johnson, you know that 100 million 311 calls reveal a lot about New York. Now citizens can surf over to look at those 311 requests every day. Today, New York City launched a 311 online service request map.
“The launch of the 311 Service Request Map is another milestone in the City’s efforts to improve the way we report 311 data to the public,” said Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith in a prepared statement. “The release of this information will better enable the public and elected officials to hold the City accountable for the services we provide. Putting better information into the hands of community leaders across the five boroughs increases transparency and allows us to collaboratively address the problems that neighborhoods face.”
It appears that Inwood and Washington Heights are making the most 311 service requests, according to the latest version of the map.
This 311 online service request map is a good start, with layers, custom searches and a clean design. Querying for those layers is a bit slow but returns relevant results for bike parking or continuing education, although many of the other layers appear to be grayed out and “coming soon.” Querying for specific request types was even slower, so for the moment I can’t find out where complaints about poison ivy, illegal animals or noisy church services are concentrated.
Early reviews have generally been positive but guarded, with room to grow. It’s a “huge step forward, long way to go,” tweeted Philip Ashlock. They “could get something better for free (eg mobile) by doing #Open311 API instead,” referring to the idea of government as a platform.
I “would much rather have the data raw via an API in an open [format] than the map UI (which isn’t all bad) in the way,” tweeted Mark Headd.
The “NYC 311 map is impressive technically, but lacks context (time period?), a legend (Maps 101), & metadata. I wonder if they talked to users before implementing it,” tweeted Steven Romalewski. “Also, the city obviously has the address-level 311 data. It’d be nice if they published the raw data so others could analyze it (residents & NYC Council reps have been asking for this for years). That would indicate a real commitment to transparency.”
UPDATE: Nick Judd published an excellent post on the New York City 311 map at techPresident, where he reports that “raw complaint data from 311 on the city’s data repository, the NYC DataMine, later this year, according to a city spokesman.” Judd also fills in a couple of key details, like:
- The application was built using the city’s public city-wide geospatial information system, CityMap
- Requests for literature are not included in the NYC 311 map
- Deputy Mayor Stephen P. Goldsmith acknowledged in a press conference today, reported on by the New York Times, “this addition to the city’s open data efforts was a nod to transparency advocates.”
“Some of this will not be entirely exciting for those of us whose job it is to make sure that the holes in the street are filled and the trash is picked up because it’ll provide visibility to what we are or not doing,” Mr. Goldsmith said. “And some of you will enjoy that visibility.”
As Judd links out, in the New York Times Cityroom blog has good coverage of the step towards getting a visual on New Yorkers’ 311 calls.