Government

Community Spotlight: Andrew Krzmarzick, enabling open source and empowering citizens in government

five questions with an opensource contributor

As the Community Manager of GovLoop—a highly active online community connecting more than 50,000 public sector professionals—Andrew Krzmarzick suspects his role is pretty similar to leading an open source project.

The open source way guides the company's decisions, communications, and interactions. And open source solutions enable them to empower citizens around the country (and the world!) who don't want to wait for their cities to make updates to a page or build apps and resources that makes their lives easier.

Hear Andrew speak more on this at the 2012 National Conference for Government Webmasters this year on September 11th in Kansas City. He will discuss citizen generated initiatives—Hackathons, CityCamps, LocalWiki and Facebook pages—that provide the community with much needed, easy to navigate, web-based resources. » Read more

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Brazil at forefront of open source initiatives

Open source in government

Since the workers’ party won the Brazilian Presidential election in 2003, an open source movement has continued to grow in government and public spheres. Now, the country appears to be at the forefront of open source initiatives, which isn’t news to most inside the community that, despite initial uncertainties, saw the movement growing each year. The workers’ party has without a doubt signaled that open source should be included at the top of the government's agenda. » Read more

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Does your city need a better brand?

Open brand

Do governments care about branding? You bet they do. With today's economic climate, governments are looking for ways to get an economic edge and create jobs. One of the ways to get ahead today is to create a perception or a promise that the locale is business-friendly, innovative, creative, and high-tech. » Read more

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A new skepticism on open data?

Venn diagram of data types

Resistance to open data is much older than the concept of open data itself. Those who control—and/or benefit from the control of—data have traditionally resisted its open dissemination.

This resistance is being steadily eroded by government policy (see open data policies in the US, UK, and a long list of other national, state and local governments), by growing social and political movements in Europe, by technological advances such as the move to “Big Data,” and by the continued work of the broader open source, open content, open access community.

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Sunlight Foundation's Eric Mill scouts out new developments in government

Transparency in government

Interested citizens and government professionals, meet your new pal, Scout. It sends you notifications when new developments in government happen—your government, your departments of interest, your items of relevance. 

We caught up with Scout's creator, Eric Mill, a web and mobile developer at Sunlight Foundation, to give us the details of the technology powering Scout and some explanation to why we thought this tool already existed.

Mill is an expert at developing technology that makes government more transparent and avid about open source projects.

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UPDATE: Colorado is coding for their community

Code for Communities

UPDATE: Six mobile applications have been selected for teams to work on.  Each app targets a different facet of the community where there is an information gap.  The apps will be released with open source code to benefit the community. The following apps have been chosen:

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Scout: Sending you updates about government activity

Transparency in government

Recently, I created and launched a new website for the Sunlight Foundation called Scout. It's the product I'm the most proud of building in my three years there. It is essentially a search and notification engine for government action. Simple idea, simple presentation, and it's easy to compare to Google Alerts—but there's a lot underneath the hood. » Read more

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HuffPost releases Pollster, an open source API for managing election polling, fostering transparency

Transparency

In case you haven't noticed, it's an election year in the United States. And with the election in full swing, there is a plethora of data, from a myriad of sources, about what is on the mind of the electorate, what is driving voters to make their decisions, and how they are likely to vote. » Read more

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Open Source for America asks U.S. government to "Free the Code"

Open Source for America logo

Open Source for America launched a petition Thursday to "Free the Code," an effort to encourage the U.S. federal government to release custom-developed, taxpayer-funded software as open source by default.

"Free the Code is an initiative to start a national conversation on taxpayer investments in software and information technology," said John Scott, co-chair of Open Source for America's steering committee. "Specifically, we’re interested in how publicly-funded software code developed by the government, which isn’t already covered by a proprietary license, should be made available to the wider public."

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Helping the European Parliament to release its own free software

open parliament

For the first time, the European Parliament is about to release one of its own programs as Free Software. The program in question is called AT4AM, short for "Automatic Tool for Amendments". The Parliament is in the business of making laws, and AT4AM automates a lot of the formal stuff associated with the production process.

To understand what AT4AM means for MEPs and their staff, have a look at how amendments were filed before, and how it works now. (Vimeo. Flash required, sorry.) Parliament staffer Erik Josefsson compared the introduction of AT4AM to the arrival of version control for developers. It's been in use inside the parliament for about 18 months, and it's a pretty fundamental tool for the people working there. » Read more

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