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Lodging, travel and dining options for TransparencyCamp 2013

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Washington, D.C. is a hub for political, nonprofit organization and business activity; it’s also well-loved destination for tourists, not to mention the visitors who come to see friends and family. As a D.C. resident, I know the experience of visiting Washington can be expensive, confusing and exhausting. So, to out-of-town TransparencyCamp 2013 visitors next month, let me give you some of the tips I share with friends and family to make your visit as enjoyable and productive as possible. But double-check the decisions you make; we offer these suggestions without warranty and with the understanding that there are many good ways to visit Washington.

Lodging

Assuming you don’t already have a place to crash, your first decision – after registering for TransparencyCamp and making transportation plans – is finding a place to stay. TCamp will take place at the Marvin Center on the campus of the George Washington University at 21st and H streets NW. View Larger Map There are quite a number of nearby hotels, including the Best Western Georgetown and the Melrose Georgetown. Check out Washington.org for more hotel recommendations, often with special rates, from the District's convention and visitors bureau.

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I’m Kind of a Sucker for Transit Data

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This may admittedly be of limited interest to those outside the DC area, but it's extremely interesting to me, so I'm afraid you'll just have to humor me for a paragraph or two. WMATA, our regional transit agency, has just launched a developer portal and API, and they've done a really nice job of it. People seem to love transit data -- after crime data it seems to be the municipal information people get most excited about (and I'd argue that it's much, much more useful than crime data) -- and I'm no exception. Playing with this stuff is a bit of a hobby of mine, and I've been following WMATA's gradual move toward openness for years. This is a big step forward for both the agency and its customers.

Bus data is still forthcoming, and I suspect that's where the real possibilities lie: the rail system is pretty easy to use; tech can pay bigger dividends when applied to the relative mysteries of the bus. Still, it's already clear that WMATA has made some smart decisions about implementation, defined reasonable terms of service, and generally seems to be moving in the right direction. When the API is considered alongside the already-released GTFS dataset, Metro's offerings match up fairly well (though not perfectly) with the ten open data principles that Sunlight has just published.

Now to see if I can't get a Graphserver instance running...

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