No matter where you fall on the political spectrum, there’s at least one thing that all can agree on: more transparency in government is always a good thing.

Data for Democracy, an all-volunteer group of nationwide data scientists, data analysts, developers and others who pursue projects that will help make various governmental data sets more accessible to the average public, is holding its first nationwide hackathon. Louisville is one of seven U.S. cities that is hosting the 24-hour event.

This in-person meet-up will be held at LouieLab at 735 W. Main Street. from 6 p.m. on Friday, March 31, until 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 1. The Civic Data Alliance, Louisville’s Code for America brigade, is partnering with Data for Democracy for the event.

The hackathon will conclude with a showcase on April 2 from 2 to 3 p.m., during which the Data for Democracy community will display and demonstrate what they built during the hackathon, in a series of short presentations.

In Louisville, hackers will be working to develop an API that will help improve analysis of the legislative process in Kentucky.

“The Kentucky Legislative Research Commission makes a substantial amount of information available to the public — through their work, nearly any question about how a legislator voted is available to the citizenry,” Civic Data Alliance co-captain Robert Kahne told IL in an email. “Anyone who has a specific question about a legislator or a piece of legislation can easily have their question answered. However, the format through which they release the information is not optimal for analysis.”

A good API helps developers create computer programs and apps and provides the building blocks developers need to build better consumer experiences.

“With an API, we can answer questions like ‘How many Democrats voted for bills primarily sponsored by Republican legislators’ or, ‘Which Republicans were most likely to co-sponsor legislation with Democrats’ or ‘Which legislator missed the fewest votes?’ ” Kahne said. “These are important questions, and we hope that our work assists analysts and journalists probe these important questions.”

Data for Democracy start in December 2016 solely on Slack and GitHub. This is its first location-based event.

All skill levels are welcome and participants can sign up via Eventbrite.

 



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