Knight News Challenge on Open Government

For the fourth time, DemocracyMap has been entered into the Knight News Challenge. The focus of the News Challenge this year is open government and we think DemocracyMap is addressing one of the most essential yet most missed aspects of open government: the most basic facts about the government itself, the “who”, “what”, “when” and “where”. Please take a look at the full proposal and share your feedback. If you think it’s worthy, we’d also love it if you could “applaud” the entry.

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DemocracyMap API Covers Over 100,000 Local Officials

The updated DemocracyMap API now provides coverage of over 100,000 local officials with a growing list of public scrapers hosted on ScraperWiki. You can see a demo of the API output at http://api.democracymap.org/demo

If you would like to contribute new scrapers, please say so on the mailing list and take a look at the guidelines for contributing.

The current DemocracyMap API coverage includes:

National

  • All Congressman (Sunlight Congress API)

State

Primary contact information for all US States (website, phone number, etc)

  • All 50 Governors
  • All State legislators – (Open States API)

Counties

Primary contact information for all US counties (website, address, etc)

  • All County Officials (35,907 officials)

Cities:

Primary contact information for all US cities (website, address, etc)

City Officials:

  • 1,214 mayors for major cities
  • 8,777 city officials in California
  • 4,716 city officials in Washington State
  • 3,396 city officials in Oregon
  • 56,354 city officials in Pennsylvania
  • 19,821 city officials in Texas
  • 3,290 city officials in Florida
  • 4,907 city officials in Massachusetts

 

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DemocracyMap Demo in NYC BigApps

A DemocracyMap demonstration app has been submitted to NYC BigApps. You can see the submission and vote for it on the NYC BigApps site listed as DemocracyMap NYC. Since the app can’t be changed while voting and judging occurs, a separate copy of this app was created to display the latest updates. This can be found at: http://beta.democracymap.org

The app includes a mobile stylesheet, so it should also be easy to use from the web browser on most smartphones.

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Learn about DemocracyMap

DemocracyMap is an initiative to better coordinate local boundary information and offer simple interfaces to discover and understand all the civic entities for a specific location. In the United States it can be very difficult to navigate or discover relevant civic information – particularly information associated with local government jurisdictions. This is true even on the most basic level. It’s challenging to know anything about what’s happening in your city council or community board because you don’t even know how to identify the city council or community board that represents you.

DemocracyMap aims to solve this problem by connecting citizens and journalists with the civic institutions and government bodies that represent any given location.

To do this, we plan to spread the tools that make it easier to manage, publish, and consume this information and we also plan to develop open standards to help aggregate and unify this data across disparate systems.

You can read the full Knight News Challenge proposal for DemocracyMap, but for now most activity is on the mailing list and wiki at:

You can also experiment with some relevant open source code and browse the apps and websites that are trying to address the challenges of DemocracyMap.

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