What’s Going on in the Labs


Project Updates


MediaSync got a major upgrade and a Dirty Dancing name thanks to Jeremy and a few others in the Django community. It’s incredibly flexible now and definitely work a look if you’re in need of a media deployment solution for your Django projects.

Congress API

James spent a little time last month to update the data in the Congress API to get it ready for the 112th Congress. More information on the update can be found here.

Reporting Group

Aaron created a section on the Reporting Group site for tracking lobbyist registrations and post-employment restrictions.

Capitol Words

Aaron, Josh and the design team working hard to get a major update to Capitol Words out the door. The API is nearing completion and the new website won’t be too far behind. We don’t have an ETA on this yet, but we’re making progress.

Public Markup

Public Markup got a redesign, a Django update, and added the Real Time Online Lobbying Transparency Act.

Sunlight Foundation Site

Last month, Jeremy and Ali worked on a small renovation to the Sunlight Foundation website.

Transparency Data

Ethan has been working on updating most of the data sets in Transparency Data, including a brand new importer for USA Spending’s new bulk downloads while Andrew has been working on a prototype tool for integrating influence information in Gmail.

Stream Congress

January brought the full public launch of Stream Congress, an HTML5 app that debuted in the Chrome App Store. It has since been upgraded to include live floor updates from the House and Senate. Check it out if you haven’t already. It’s definitely worth a pinned tab in Chrome.

Sunlight Live

We did another Sunlight Live event in January, this time for the President’s State of the Union Address. We’re continuing to support live events on the existing system while Luigi, David and Jeremy build out the next version. While we don’t yet have an ETA for the next version, we’re honing in on the features that it will offer. Most importantly, it will be a true downloadable platform that will allow others to host “live” events on their own servers.

National Data Catalog

David and Ali are working on version 2 of the National Data Catalog which promises to be a more social and collaborative evolution of our first data catalog.


Kevin and Kaitlin launched the tax expenditure database, Kaitlin wrote an excellent blog post about why we should care about tax expenditure transparency, and they’ll be pushing out the housing sector content soon.

Real Time Congress API

We’re ridiculously close to launching the new Real Time Congress API. Eric previewed this back in November and it’s already powering the lastest Android app, our soon to be released Roku app and our next iPhone app update.


Timball is continuing our move to Amazon Web Services and upgrading our internal bandwidth and exploring ways to bring in content for future sunlight live events.

Open States

James, Michael and Patrick worked closely with the the team at Participatory Politics Foundation to ensure a smooth launch for OpenGovernment.org. We also announced the addition of two new states to the API. Welcome, Arizona and Utah. Finally, the team is working with Caitlin on a redesign of the Open States that’s expected to launch soon.

Mobile Apps

  • Congress for Android: A new version of the Congress application for Android is right around the corner. The updated app will talk to our all-powerful Real Time Congress API and will feature an improved interface that will make the app even more useful than before.
  • Real Time Congress for iPhone: Josh and Tim continue to keep the existing iPhone application up to date while building out the next version. Like the Android app, the next version of the iPhone application will sport a new look and talk to the Real Time Congress API.
  • Health Care Application: Eric and Caitlin are working with the Sunlight Reporting Group on the first in a series of mobile apps. The first app, focused on health care, is an app that uses public data about Medicare, care facilities, and prescription drugs to help citizens make better health care decisions.

January Highlights

We hosted our first “Office Hours” IRC chat on the 28th. 15 people showed up to chat about open data with labs developers.

OpenGovernment Is A Finalist For SXSW Accelerator

Tom asked why there aren’t more Open Data Startups.

OpenGovernment.org was launched!

Brandon Lewis won a Kindle

See you in March.