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Webinar: Developers and Federal Agencies: Can we talk? August 11, 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "Webinar: Developers and Federal Agencies: Can we talk? August 11, 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 Webinar: Developers and Federal Agencies: Can we talk? August 11, 2011

2 Agenda 1 Introductions –Ethan McMahon, U.S. EPA (host) –Alex Howard, O’Reilly Media (moderator) –Jeremy Carbaugh, Sunlight Foundation (presenter) –Michaela Hackner, Forum One (presenter) –Kurt Voelker, Forum One (presenter) Format –Speakers (25 minutes) –Lines are muted - submit questions as the speakers talk –Questions and Answers (25 minutes) –Technical issues? Send a message via webinar panel

3 Apps for the Environment Apps must use EPA data and address one of EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson’s Seven Priorities Judged based on usefulness, innovativeness, and usability Submissions are due by September 16 Winners and runners up for Best Overall App and Best Student App, plus People’s Choice Recognition from EPA in Washington, D.C. in November Get more details at 2 Background about the Challenge

4 A long(itude) history of contests and challenges 3

5 Apps Contests and the passage of the America COMPETES Act A new movement for collaborative innovation in open government starts in 2008 in DCcollaborative innovation in open government Around the world, apps contests are unlocking government innovationAround the world, apps contests are unlocking government innovation In 2011, the America COMPETES Act allows all agencies to host challengesAmerica COMPETES Ac 4

6 Build community, not just apps Move from cool to useful Address sustainability issues Identify problems to solve Key issue for “App Contests 2.0” 5

7 2010 open data survey showed progress but a long road still ahead2010 open data survey Developers say only 30% of data needed is available, 50% of that unusable Issues: data timeliness, accuracy, usable formats, metadata schemas, consistency, and incomplete data sets Key issues for open government data 6

8 A portion of the challenges on

9 What is the purpose of a challenge? Add more value to data by allowing them to be used in new ways. Jumpstart a community of developers with interest in mission. Allow citizens to invest in the public interest. 8

10 A challenge is not a way to get free software development. 9

11 Meaningful innovation cannot occur without expertise in the subject matter. 10




15 SELECT * FROM hamp_20110617 WHERE ln_mdfc_mode_nme = “official modification” OR ln_mdfc_fout_rsn_nme != “” OR ln_trl_mdfc_dnal_rsn_nme != “”

16 Make data understandable. Direct communication with experts in government. Provide step-by-step examples of going from data to a working application. 15

17 Make development easier. Provide SQL table definitions for data. Create client libraries for Web services in popular programming languages. 16

18 Foster a community. Provide a forum for communication with government and public. Be proactive in reaching out to developer communities. 17

19 The success of a challenge can be judged by the self-sustaining applications and community it creates. 18


21 20




25 Finding the “right” data Too many formats Inconsistent data models The data drove the solution, not vice-versa Incentive problem THE BIGGEST HURDLES


27 Socrata’s Views Service Google’s DSPL EASE DATA DISCOVERY BY MACHINES

28 MAKE DEVELOPERS A PRIORITY AUDIENCE Code Recipes Examples API Documentation

29 Anticipate Public Use: Become the Platform Ease Data Discovery by Machines Documentation, Code, APIs ANTICIPATE PUBLIC USE “It’s not just the API that’s a big deal. It’s the discipline an API imposes... To build one, an agency has to record and store data in a way that anticipates public use. Data sharing is no longer an afterthought. You begin with the notion that you’re going to share information. And you’re going to make it easy for people.” -Greg Elin, 2009 Former head, Sunlight Labs Current head, open data,

30 Potential topics: What’s the most important thing federal agencies can do to help developers? How can the system be structured so apps can be sustained (i.e., funding)? How to make apps that are useful to users? Questions and Answers

31 Post this webinar on EPA’s site – Continue the conversation on our blog at Submit your apps by September 16 Next Steps

32 For more information Alex Howard, O’Reilly Media, Jeremy Carbaugh, Sunlight Foundation, Michaela Hackner, Forum One, Kurt Voelker, Forum One, Ethan McMahon, U.S. EPA Apps for the Environment:

33 Apps for the Environment Code-a-thon! September 3, 2011 from 10 AM to 6 PM EST Hosted by American University –Graduate Student Lounge adjoining the School of International Service building All developers are welcome! Get details at

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