Webinar: Developers and Federal Agencies: Can we talk?

August 11, 2011

Agenda
‡ 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
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Background about the Challenge
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 epa.gov/appsfortheenvironment
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A long(itude) history of contests and challenges

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Apps Contests and the passage of the America COMPETES Act
‡ A new movement for collaborative innovation in open government starts in 2008 in DC ‡ Around the world, apps contests are unlocking government innovation ‡ In 2011, the America COMPETES Act allows all agencies to host challenges

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Key issue for ³App Contests 2.0´
‡ Build community, not just apps

‡ Move from cool to useful

‡ Address sustainability issues

‡ Identify problems to solve
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Key issues for open government data
‡ 2010 open data survey showed progress but a long road still ahead ‡ 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

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A portion of the challenges on Challenge.gov

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.

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

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Meaningful innovation cannot occur without expertise in the subject matter.

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SELECT * FROM hamp_20110617 WHERE ln_mdfc_mode_nme = ³official modification´ OR ln_mdfc_fout_rsn_nme != ³´ OR ln_trl_mdfc_dnal_rsn_nme != ³´

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

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

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

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

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WHAT WE BUILT: DATAMASHER.ORG

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DOLLARS PER POINT ON THE SAT

MOST REPRODUCTIVE STATES

‡ Finding the ³right´ data ‡ Too many formats ‡ Inconsistent data models ‡ The data drove the solution, not vice-versa ‡ Incentive problem

THE BIGGEST HURDLES

WHAT WOULD BE AWESOME

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Socrata¶s Views Service Google¶s DSPL

EASE DATA DISCOVERY BY MACHINES

‡ Code ‡ Recipes ‡ Examples ‡ API Documentation

MAKE DEVELOPERS A PRIORITY AUDIENCE

³It¶s not just the API that¶s a big deal. It¶s the discipline an API imposes... To build one, an ‡ Anticipate Public Use: Become the agency has to record and store data in a way Platform that anticipates public use. Data sharing is no longer an afterthought. You begin with the ‡ Ease Data Discovery by Machines notion that you¶re going to share information. And you¶re going to make it easy for people.´

‡ www.Myagency.gov/Developer: Elin, 2009 - Greg Documentation, Code, APIs Former head, Sunlight Labs
Current head, open data, FCC.gov

ANTICIPATE PUBLIC USE

Questions and Answers
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?

Next Steps
‡ Post this webinar on EPA¶s site ± www.epa.gov/appsfortheenvironment/webinar.html ‡ Continue the conversation on our blog at http://blog.epa.gov/data/ ‡ Submit your apps by September 16

For more information
‡ Alex Howard, O¶Reilly Media ‡ alex@oreilly.com, @digiphile ‡ Jeremy Carbaugh, Sunlight Foundation ‡ jcarbaugh@sunlightfoundation.com, @jcarbaugh

‡ Michaela Hackner, Forum One ‡ mhackner@forumone.com, @KalaBird ‡ Kurt Voelker, Forum One ‡ kvoelker@forumone.com, @KVoelker ‡ Ethan McMahon, U.S. EPA ‡ mcmahon.ethan@epa.gov ‡ Apps for the Environment: epa.gov/appsfortheenvironment

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 blog.epa.gov/data

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