For our first post back from hiatus, we’ve collected four top stories from the past month. If you think there is an important story we’ve missed, or want to contribute, let us know at email@example.com.
We recently published a new version of the Popolo specification for legislative data. Since first announcing Popolo in March, it has been used by mySociety in PopIt, in the Sunlight Foundation’s municipal data projects and is making its way into other projects by the Open Knowledge Foundation and others. The update is the result of great feedback from the community and includes re-worked memberships to make describing relationships easier, a more flexible contact information model, more ways to serialize JSON data, and more metadata fields. In addition to these core spec improvements the website and related documentation have been improved. As always, we would love more feedback and participation on the spec!
A team of volunteers in Washington, D.C. recently published the city’s municipal code in an open format at DCCode.org. The code, which lists all laws residents are to abide by, used to only be available for purchase, as the city claimed copyright over their own laws. Now, the code is legally accessible and available on GitHub, too! Rebecca Williams from the Sunlight Foundation explains, “the precipice of this great opening-up was that Tom Macwright was trying to make a bike app that linked to local bicycle laws, but the code was not available openly to add to the app.” Created with the DC Code Hackathon and buy-in from the city, the code is now (beautifully) available for all.
The European Commission’s F7 Programme launched the ENGAGE program to encourage “development and use of a data infrastructure, incorporating distributed and diverse public sector information (PSI) resources, capable of supporting scientific collaboration and research, particularly for the Social Science and Humanities (SSH) scientific communities, while also empowering the deployment of open governmental data towards citizens.” Visit ENGAGE to check out datasets from across the EU, request new ones, and share comments with the community.
As part of their Lobby Watch series, the Toronto Star has launched a new search tool that scrapes open data on Toronto lobbyists to show what each company and City Councillor are discussing. Check out who is lobbying your councillor or see who is the most lobbied councillor at City Hall.