Last week was dominated by news of the first government shutdown in seventeen years. But at Sunlight it also marked a different, more cheerful milestone. Last week, Sunlight's APIs served their billionth request!Continue reading
As building blocks for our tools, our APIs are core not only to our work but also to the hundreds of outside applications and services that they power. (Hold up, what are APIs again?) In the past half year, we have taken your feedback and build a prominent API site that’s accessible from the main Sunlight Foundation navigation. The new API section features completely re-written and re-organized documentation, a summary of the status of each API and an interactive query builder to help developers build their requests. We’ve also added real time statistics for our APIs, so anyone can see their aggregate use over time.
Need inspiration? Want to help?
Aside from accessing our APIs, we have also collected real-life examples of our APIs at work-- just check out the gallery of projects using our APIs to see just some of the projects that can be built with our data. Then head over to the Community tab to see current data projects that we and other OpenGov-ers are working on. You can filter these projects by ones that need technical help, non-technical help and also projects to inspire.
Learn how to join the efforts on standardizing election data, to detailing key relationships between influencers and politicians, to scraping state level spending data and a whole host of other projects. Have a project you want to add? Submit it here.Want to meet other developers or get connected? Continue reading
This weekend, patriotism gets a technical upgrade as civic hackers and open government advocates all across the U.S. will participate in National Day of Civic Hacking events. At Sunlight, we've witnessed (and encouraged!) the growth of the community of civic hackers, and are proud to sponsor and participate in several events this weekend. Will we see you there?Continue reading
Here’s an appeal for our readers: please help Sunlight spread the news of the great work civic hackers do as far and wide as possible by voting for our storytelling video in the Looking@Democracy contest organized by the Illinois Humanities Council with support from the MacArthur Foundation. (Voting ends May 16.) We couldn’t wait to tell this (previously) untold story through a short video to demonstrate how the nascent movement of civic hackers are creating apps and tools using open government data to make their communities better. These men and women are equipped with laptops, open data and creative ideas to positively reconstruct the way we relate with government.Continue reading
At Sunlight we're immensely proud of our community of API users and today we're launching a new section of our website to learn more about them, see how others use the data and use the snazzy query builder.Continue reading
Recently, the EPA eRulemaking team released a new version of Regulations.gov, a website that tracks the various stages of the rulemaking processes of hundreds of federal agencies, and collects and publishes comments from the public about this rulemaking. We’ve written about Regulations.gov before, and continue to be impressed with the site’s progress in making the sometimes-daunting intricacies of federal regulations more approachable to members of the general public.
This release brings several new features that further this goal. Styling on many document pages has been significantly improved, making it much easier to read both rule and comment text. The presentation of metadata has also been made cleaner, so researchers can more easily find identifiers that help them connect a particular rule to related documents on other websites, such as FederalRegister.gov or RegInfo.gov. New panes have also been added to help users understand the public participation that has occurred so far in a given rulemaking, and to more easily recognize opportunities for further participation.
Of course, since last year’s release of the Regulations.gov API, Regulations.gov is more than just an informational website; it has also become a data provider that now facilitates a variety of third-party participation and analysis tools, as their Developers page now highlights. One such tool is Sunlight’s recently-released Docket Wrench, which uses Regulations.gov data to explore questions of corporate and public influence in the federal regulatory process. Docket Wrench evolved from two years’ worth of effort exploring the possibilities of analysis on federal regulatory comment data, and we believe the time we’ve spent building it has given us a unique perspective on the avenues of research this data makes available, as well as the opportunities for further growth and improvement in regulatory comment data going forward.
The team behind Regulations.gov deserves enormous credit for the progress they’ve made, but there remains much work to be done to give the public a complete, accessible and useful path into the federal regulatory process.Continue reading
Are you as big of a fan of Paul Tagliamonte as I am? If so, then you are well aware of python-sunlight, his awesome, comprehensive Python API client for Sunlight's APIs. The latest release includes a command line interface, or CLI, so you can interact with the Sunlight APIs directly from the shell. Cool, right?Continue reading
Last year, we wrote about how to get access to our political influence data via the Influence Explorer API. That post is a great introduction, but here's an update on a small, but significant, improvement we've made to make accessing our data easier.Continue reading
Good news if you were one of the users waiting on our Congress API to support the newly drawn congressional districts! As of today it is possible to pass the districts=2012 flag to the Congress API's districts.getDistrictFromLatLong method to instruct the API to return the district in effect for the 2012 elections.
As you may recall, the data wasn't previously available in a uniform format but thanks to a recent data release from Census.gov we were able to get this data loaded, with days to spare until the election.
The default will remain to return the districts in effect for purposes of representation until the swearing in of the 113th Congress in January 2013 at which point the temporary districts=2012 flag will be retired (but it will be safe to continue to pass the parameter indefinitely).
This change does not yet impact other Sunlight API methods. The Open States district methods and the ZIP code related methods will be updated as that data is available, as described in our last update.)Continue reading