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Sunlight Labs Offers $25,000 For Data.gov Apps

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the long-way-to-go-to-make-the-government-up-to-date dept.

Government 59

Andurin writes "With the launch of Data.gov, Sunlight Labs is offering $25,000 in prize money for developers who create apps that use newly-released federal government data. Data.gov is paving the way for citizens to become more engaged with their government, by providing for the first-time a clearinghouse of federal data in developer-friendly formats. The Apps for America 2 contest aims to find the best applications that rely on Data.gov, whether it be a client application, an iPhone app, or data visualization. Also, the first, second and third prize winners will receive airfare and hotel placement for a trip to Washington DC. While in Washington, DC, they'll attend an awards ceremony at the Gov2.0 Summit by O'Reilly Media and TechWeb."

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Great idea (1)

d3l33t (1106803) | more than 5 years ago | (#28058947)

I applaud this effort. We need more contests like these to help promote open information access, and ultimately gain a competitive edge over other countries. (I'm looking at you China!)

Re:Great idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28059341)

ultimately gain a competitive edge over other countries. (I'm looking at you China!)

Now THAT'S funny!

Re:Great idea (2, Insightful)

kramulous (977841) | more than 5 years ago | (#28059373)

Don't just look at China. Getting tax-payer funded data out of any government in Australia is impossible. Each government department just protects their own interest.

I applaud this effort as well. Credit where credit is due.

Re:Great idea (1)

getto man d (619850) | more than 5 years ago | (#28060051)

As do I.

Now what would really be nice is allowing the public to access NOAA [http://www.noaa.gov/] real-time data from all of their research sites and present it in a manner than Joe Sixpack himself can appreciate (you can from some agencies but not in a nice parse-able format).

The sheer amount of data these labs have / collect is amazing. IMHO if we present this data so 'everyone' can reach it, then maybe we can excite more youngsters in a science based education or career.

Re:Great idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28060645)

contests

Sorry, I don't work for free. I'll write an app on spec, but I expect to be paid on delivery.

I can hear the ads now (5, Funny)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 5 years ago | (#28058961)

"Wanna find the targets in the US most vulnerable to terrorist attack? There's an app for that!"

Re:I can hear the ads now (1)

emag (4640) | more than 5 years ago | (#28059103)

"... you just won't be able to take a video of them, or send an MMS"

Re:I can hear the ads now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28059967)

Personally, I want to see the Cheney [iran-press-service.com] tracker app. See where he's been [typepad.com] , where he currently is, [google.com] and where he's going later tonight, [badattitudes.com] and in the future. [typepad.com]

Just in case... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28059011)

An iron-clad immunity clause/contract.

Goatse (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28059037)

Windows Vista 2.0 [goatse.fr]

25k = 10k first prize, 5k second prize, ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28059109)

Sorry, but those amounts are not anywhere near enough for the (opportunity cost) risk I'd be taking by competing. Unknown odds + subjective rating = very low odds of payout.

Offer me a guaranteed salary in that range, and I'll make something worth your while.

Re:25k = 10k first prize, 5k second prize, ... (2, Informative)

Tacctc (941413) | more than 5 years ago | (#28059147)

It's a contest not a job.

Re:25k = 10k first prize, 5k second prize, ... (1)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 5 years ago | (#28059325)

Re:25k = 10k first prize, 5k second prize, ... (2, Insightful)

syphax (189065) | more than 5 years ago | (#28059183)

You're competing for the visibility and publicity, not prize money.

Do the former make development worth one's while in this case? Beats me.

Re:25k = 10k first prize, 5k second prize, ... (1)

ushering05401 (1086795) | more than 5 years ago | (#28059419)

The visibility part turned me off. If it was a straight cash and carry deal it might be worth evaluating. But a conference in D.C.? Are they serious?

After years of observing our government's futile tech implementation convulsions I would do anything in my power to keep my name and rep clear of initiatives like this.
 

Re:25k = 10k first prize, 5k second prize, ... (1)

skarphace (812333) | more than 5 years ago | (#28060227)

The visibility part turned me off. If it was a straight cash and carry deal it might be worth evaluating. But a conference in D.C.? Are they serious?

After years of observing our government's futile tech implementation convulsions I would do anything in my power to keep my name and rep clear of initiatives like this.

I don't get it. The government isn't even involved. It's just a non-profit transparency NGO.

Re:25k = 10k first prize, 5k second prize, ... (1)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 5 years ago | (#28059207)

Tomorrow: "Sunlight Labs cancels Data.gov competition because an AC doesn't consider the competition worthwhile."

Re:25k = 10k first prize, 5k second prize, ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28059855)

More like: "Sunlight Labs only gets 10 submissions to their contest due to pathetic prize offering."

What about the opportunity to learn something new? (2, Interesting)

gbrayut (715117) | more than 5 years ago | (#28059935)

When Resolver Systems started their $25,000 competition [resolversystems.com] for the best spreadsheet examples for Resolver One, I saw it as a great opportunity to learn IronPython and play around with a new program that looked interesting. I spent some free time having fun coding in a new language, and the Texas Holdem Monte Carlo Hand Evaluator worksheet [theg2.net] that I made ended up being pretty useful. Oh... and it won one of the rounds, so I see it as time very well spent :-P

Now this competition is a bit more structured and has much less of a "fun" factor, but it still is a good incentive to look at the data that is available and try and think of new ways to visualize or use it.

Notice the first app... (2, Interesting)

tcopeland (32225) | more than 5 years ago | (#28059163)

...'FBI Most Wanted' Concentration [thatsaspicymeatball.com] . Pretty clever!

Re:Notice the first app... (1)

ViennaSt (1138481) | more than 5 years ago | (#28060021)

I love the easy to read design [fbi.gov] once you click any of those links. I know, I know. Work in progress.

Re:Notice the first app... (2, Insightful)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#28060169)

What's wrong with an RSS feed? Looks good to me...

Re:Notice the first app... (1)

ViennaSt (1138481) | more than 5 years ago | (#28060769)

Wow, I must have been asleep at my desk-completely misread the description of what that was linking to. I must have been expecting the description of how it worked within the link, I don't even know. I'm blaming the 12-5 happy hour at my work.

Re:Notice the first app... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28060649)

I love how practically everyone on that list is Mexican. There are maybe five white people in the entire thing. You Americans have really gone and fucked yourselves.

Re:Notice the first app... (1)

ViennaSt (1138481) | more than 5 years ago | (#28060715)

I love how practically everyone on that list is Mexican. There are maybe five white people in the entire thing. You Americans have really gone and fucked yourselves.

Gee, just about everyone on that list is male. Have females gone and fucked themselves too?

Re:Notice the first app... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28062419)

Agreed, men commit the violent crimes. But which men? That's the question. Oh look, they aren't white.

Propoganda at its finest (2, Interesting)

longhairedgnome (610579) | more than 5 years ago | (#28059187)

I'm wondering, is it possible that by using all this data, the government is in essence, spying on back on us, monitoring the usage of the data?

You deserve an award... (2, Funny)

Chmcginn (201645) | more than 5 years ago | (#28059237)

If there's a prize for best tinfoil hat theory of the month, I'll writing you in for it.

AC Offers $25,000 For Goatse.gov Pics (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28059247)

n/t

Crap data (2, Informative)

Yold (473518) | more than 5 years ago | (#28059263)

Wow these are some amazing data sets . http://www.data.gov/catalog#raw [data.gov]

It is limited to geological, environmental, and weather datasets. Ohh yea, and the usability of the website is about as good as you'd expect from the government.

Re:Crap data (2, Insightful)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 5 years ago | (#28059713)

Yep. It's spending and campaign contribution data I want to see side by side.

Re:Crap data (1)

JohnSearle (923936) | more than 5 years ago | (#28061085)

Yep. It's spending and campaign contribution data I want to see side by side.

Here you go: http://www.data.gov/suggestdataset [data.gov]

Re:Crap data (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 5 years ago | (#28059805)

It is limited to geological, environmental, and weather datasets.

Among the "raw" datasets which demonstrate that this is incorrect:
Global Trade - World Copper Smelters
Patent Grant Bibliographic Data (2009)
Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS) Files, All Data, 2005
Benefits Data from the Benefits and Earnings Public Use File, 2004
Interactive Access To National Income and Product Accounts Tables
Office of Advocacy's News Update File

Re:Crap data (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#28060135)

Hmm... who stops you from building a site that just pulls the stuff in the background, and does fancy processing stuff with it? :)

I mean, after all, you own the data. (You belong to the people of the nation, who own the country and rule over the government, do you?)

Re:Crap data (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28061997)

It is limited to geological, environmental, and weather datasets

So, in other words, a re-branding of USGS and NOAA?

Doesn't even appear to have half the stuff you can get directly from either of those two .gov websites.

See: USGS [usgs.gov]

And while we're on data.gov... (1)

tcopeland (32225) | more than 5 years ago | (#28059277)

...how about making those divs/viewports/things-containing-the-checkboxes a little bigger here [data.gov] ? There are 30 checkboxes and you can only see two at a time; I feel like a Cylon!

Re:And while we're on data.gov... (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#28060201)

Greasemonkey them yourself! ^^

Where the whores are (1)

talleyrand (318969) | more than 5 years ago | (#28059287)

CDC data for communicable diseases with a nice google map overlay seems a prime mobile app to me.

Horoscope Prover (3, Interesting)

Laxori666 (748529) | more than 5 years ago | (#28059311)

There is divorce data. There is also birthday data. The astrologists also tell us which zodiac signs go together. This'd be a prime way to statistically prove or disprove their claims: see if divorce rates are higher between mismatched zodiacs.

Please start slanting the summaries (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28059337)

It makes me sick that a site that is supposedly slanted toward GNU/Linux and open source doesn't edit the news summaries submitted to remove brand associated terms and products that aren't related to the story at hand. Slashdotters are always complaining about the articles that slip through which are nothing more than advertisements. Well- even the real newsworthy article submissions summaries contain advertisements and favouritisms toward companies and products are anti-GNU/Linux / open source / free software. We should be editing this stuff out. We shouldn't have summaries that include such things as an "iPhone app". This is just ridicules. The iPhone isn't even a major player in the market and represents everything Slashdot is biased against! errr the Slashdot "editors" and users who submit stories need to do a better job slanting the summaries.

Re:Please start slanting the summaries (1)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 5 years ago | (#28059413)

You're also against people saying "Merry Christmas" since the US has "seperation between church and state," aren't you. They were giving a specific instance of something someone could develop, not promoting the iPhone.

Re:Please start slanting the summaries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28060131)

You're also against people saying "Merry Christmas" since the US has "seperation between church and state," aren't you. They were giving a specific instance of something someone could develop, not promoting the iPhone.

No seperation of church and state anywhere in the constitution, FYI.

Re:Please start slanting the summaries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28060347)

Way to stay on topic, man. (FWIW, the First Amendment, with its Establishment and Free Exercise clauses, is generally understood to be the constitutional rationale for the "separation of church and state". But I'd understand you missing that if your idea of legal research is grepping for a literal (and misspelled) string.)

Re:Please start slanting the summaries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28060469)

Facts are stubborn things, "Generally Understood" does not a fact make. So go ahead and attack my spelling but the facts will remain the same.

Read my comment On Your Iphone! It Works, Just! (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 5 years ago | (#28060765)

Merry Christmas? Nice straw man. And I bet you get angry when people say "Happy Holidays" to you.

Whilst I wouldn't have phrased it quite like the OP did, I did think the same thing about the unnecessary and obligatory Iphone slashvertisement. Of course it's promotion - "Hey you can do this on your XXX" is promotion, why do you think even simple product placement in films, with no explicit mention of the product, is so important?

It's also patronising to the reader - we know what products are, we don't need to be told buzzwords such as "Ipod", "Megadrive", "Dell" and so on, instead "mp3 player", "games console" and "computer". And even if that was the reason, why pick the Iphone, and not one of the far more popular phone companies? Oh right, because it's Apple, who need to be mentioned at least once a day in completely unnecessary circumstances (e.g., "Hey, you can read this website On Your Iphone!!!" as we had recently).

Whilst the Iphone mention is taken from the article, they also list: Adobe AIR, Java, Django and Rails. Why aren't these mentioned in the summary, if it's meant to be an accurate summary of the article? It wouldn't be promotion, according to you.

Happy Holidays.

I puked at "Iphone app" (1)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | more than 5 years ago | (#28060833)

Time to burn some karma...

Do we say web application or we say "Firefox application"? Do we say "car has four tires" or "BMW has four tires"? WTF is wrong with just mentioning phone applications? Since when iphone became the only phone capable of having "applications"? Too many people on too much kool aid here.

Interaction Graph (1)

Laxori666 (748529) | more than 5 years ago | (#28059351)

I once made a bot which graphed Xanga. Each person was a node, and there was an edge between A and B if A had a link to B in his/her profile. We could maybe graph the US this way. See who knows who and through which people. Then you can do fun stuff like try to find the two most disconnected people (longest path... too bad that is NP-Complete), or see if the 6 degrees of separation thing is true.

Re:Interaction Graph (1)

Yold (473518) | more than 5 years ago | (#28059423)

Too bad there is no census data on the website.

Re:Interaction Graph (1)

Laxori666 (748529) | more than 5 years ago | (#28059823)

My bad. Two most disconnected people would be finding all pairs shortest paths, and then finding the longest one. That's P! But sibling is right - the fact that there is no census data impedes this effort more.

Automated Fascist Finder: To Locate +1, Helpful (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28059563)

the world's most dangerous persons [whitehouse.org] .

Yours In Democracy,
K. Trout

NIce idea, but unlikely (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 5 years ago | (#28059565)

I think one underestimated the combined laziness of the masses if you think that simply having easy access will encourage "citizens to become more engaged with their government". At least not in any significant numbers.

Re:NIce idea, but unlikely (1)

FLEB (312391) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063227)

It's like the old anti-DRM argument, though-- it only takes one bright person to crack it. In this case, it only takes one bright person to use the raw data to make the easily-digestible app that provides the right info/interest/ease to get people to start thinking. Not everyone needs to be a developer to be engaged.

why can I not just Google it (1)

cenc (1310167) | more than 5 years ago | (#28059767)

Leave it to the government to publish data that Google can not read.

Have you ever had anyone mention the library of congress web site as a great resource for example?

Re:why can I not just Google it (1)

N3Roaster (888781) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063217)

Actually, that's a rather good source for old public domain maps. Granted, you have to modify the URLs by hand if you want full resolution copies in something more widely readable than JPEG2000 (or at least it did the last time I needed an old map).

No DEA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28060307)

I noticed the DEA wasn't on the list of agencies.. No data could be found on the 20+ Billion/year 'drug war'.

Great idea but needs work (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#28060421)

data.gov is a super idea, long overdue, but, the available of data in a computer usable form is very scarce. Certainly the EPA has more than a handful of CSV or XML downloads available from its databases. Everything should be public this way. It's just going to take millions, if not billions of dollars, to get there. Shall we start bidding?

Re:Great idea but needs work (2)

Bill Dog (726542) | more than 5 years ago | (#28064323)

IOW great idea but we don't have the money for it.

Enraged? (1)

Spankophile (78098) | more than 5 years ago | (#28060505)

Are you sure you didn't mean:

"Data.gov is paving the way for citizens to become more /enraged/ with their government"

Access from anywhere in the world? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28066609)

Do we really want this data, mostly about us and our government, to be accessible by non-citizens? Seems there is a cost to gathering and producing this data.

While I'm not a fan of government IDs or user accounts, and think that almost all data the government captures, creates, correlates needs to be provided to any US Citizen within 1 year of creation. There are exceptions.

Most of the data that I'm concerned about involves budget and actual spending. I want to know where my money is going and ensure that my priorities are matched in the overall budget. For example, I don't like that over 50% of the federal budget goes to "entitlement programs" like social security. NASA gets around 1%. Is that what you think? Military gets about 20%. I bet you thought it was higher.

A few years ago, I tried to create a pie chart of spending using available data. I couldn't because the data reporting isn't apples-to-apples and budget reporting goes across different government agencies. Boo.

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