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Better Draw a District

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High school civics classes teach that democracy is in the hands of voters. This view, though empowering, only tells part of the story. To really understand a democracy, you need to understand how votes are counted. One must shed light on the very machinery that powers our representative democracy: the sometimes bizarrely-shaped geographic boundaries called congressional districts.

One day, there will be a brilliant, easy-to-use tool that enlightens our citizenry on the intricacies of gerrymandering and the political machinations therein. But that day is not today. Today we launch the crude, far-from-serious, yet very fun Better Draw a District, the last and longest-awaited in the series of projects we created as part of our Labs Olympics teambuilding event.

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Getting Serious About Bear Data

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Our colleagues at Sunlight have just launched a major new ursine initiative. Naturally, we want to help, so David dug into the data he'd recently scraped from the Catalog of Government Publications to see if there were any contributions we could make from a labs perspective.

The Catalog of Government Publications is a powerful bear resource. It contains no less than 77 records about bears. The most important document in that list, of course, is the Bear Spray Safety Program. Nothing drives humanity more than survival. Therefore, you must familiarize yourself with the all-important Bear Force Continuum:

The Bear Force Continuum

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The National Data Catalog Is Hungry

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So you've found some government data on the web. Naturally, you are eager to share your findings with the world. Perfect! Sunlight Labs can help. Our National Data Catalog (NatDatCat) is hungry for government data, and we have to feed it regularly. Otherwise, it gets grumpy.

The first step is to assess what you've found. If it is just a few bits of scattered files, just fill out a quick form and tell us about it. On the other hand, if it is a collection of data sets, you might consider writing an importer...

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National Data Catalog API

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The National Data Catalog went live last week. Now we would like to share a little bit about our API and how it fits into our platform.

The National Data Catalog (NDC) is an open source catalog for government data sets and APIs. Our goal is to have it encompass all data released by or about governments in the United States. This includes federal, state, and local jurisdictions. The NDC will harness the community of users interested in open government data.

Web developers can take a look at our API documentation.

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