Data + APIs = Sexy

Two things I find sexy: data, and APIs to get at that data.

Actually, there’s a third thing I find sexy: open government and organizations that increase government transparency.

For those counting, that might bring sexy up to four depending on your arithmetic.

So this is what I think: the Sunlight Foundation is a sexy organization. And the sultry group running Sunlight Labs gets data wonks and Open Gov advocates hot and bothered. 

Here’s what they ostensibly look like.

sunlight labs geeks

And here’s what they’ve recently done:

  • Created the Real Time Congress API that gives developers real-time access to everything going on in Congress from bills to videos to votes and documents.
  • Updated the Open States Project that’s doing very much the same thing on the state level.

This latter work might slip under the radar but is very important.

As Tom Lee writes on the Sunlight Labs Blog:

State legislatures are where vital decisions are made about civil rights, transportation, education, taxes, land use, gun regulation, and a host of other issues. Far too often, these issues don’t get the attention they deserve. It’s a simple question of scale: there are a lot more resources available at the federal level for both lawmakers and journalists. That means state governance both requires more transparency and tends to get less of it. We think technology can help make the situation better — that’s what Open States is all about.

Now it’s up to the rest of us to create great applications around this Open Gov treasure trove.

We’re looking forward to all sorts of new sexy. As a certain captain of a certain Starship Enterprise frequently said, “Make it so.”

And, by the way, they’re hiring.

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