2014年3月30日日曜日

VIP Hackathon and Civic Information API

On 3/28 and 29th, I joined Voting Information Project Hackathon and gave a short talk about Civic Information API.

This is my slides, and I will walk through them on this post so that those who did not join the hackathon can follow:

 

Why does Google care about Voting Information? Because our users care. At times of election, we saw people searching with search query "where do I vote?" So we are providing tools for people to know where to go to vote.


There are 2 portions to Civic Information API: acquiring election information, and acquiring data about who your representative is.

All of the documentation and information you need can be found here:
https://developers.google.com/civic-information/


1. Acquiring Election data

There are 2 APIs for this. 

1. You can use electionQuery to obtain a list of valid election IDs.
2. Then you can use voterInfoQuery with an address to obtain information for a selected election.

Election data will not be acquired if the election does not exist, but we want you to be able to build apps even when there is no election happening. Therefore, "election ID 2000" exists. This is test data mocking NYC Mayoral 2013 data, so if you put address of NYC, API will return polling places for you.

Open Source Projects

We love Open Source. So we have 2 tools you can use which is Open Sourced: Voter Information Tool and Election Results Maps.

Voter Information Tool 
code.google.com/p/voter-info-tool



Election Results Maps
code.google.com/p/election-maps

2. Acquiring data on representatives

In order to acquire data about who the representative is in the address specified, you use representativeInfoQuery. By specifying location, you can acquire information on federal, state, county and municipal elected officials.

There is a nifty sample app for you to see how it works.

Map Your Representatives

You enter the address



In this case I put "901 Mission Street San Francisco", the address of the hackathon venue "Impact Hub".

It pulls up the map, and lets you select whether you are looking for your representative on the national level, state level or county level.



And lists the representatives of that address.



If you click on the representative, you can get further information about that representative.




Other examples include Change.org that implemented Decision Makers feature which allows users to direct a petition to their elected representative and lists that petition publicly on the representative's profile page. As a result, the leader has better insight into the issues being discussed in their district, and a new channel to respond to constituents.



PopVox helps users share their opinions on bills with their Congressional Representatives in a meaningful format. PopVox uses the API to connect the user to the correct Congressional District. Because PopVox verifies that users are real constituents, the opinions shared with elected officials have more impact on the political process.



Useful Information on Civic Information API

-All of the documentation on both APIs are here:
https://developers.google.com/civic-information/

-If you need more quota, you can go to APIs Console and fill in the form to increase quota:
https://console.developers.google.com/project

-There is a mailing list (Google Groups) to share information and get support on this API:
https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/google-civicinfo-api

Other useful tools

Google Fusion Tables enables you to visualize on charts, maps and network graph very easily.
http://www.google.com/fusiontables

Freebase & Knowledge Graph enables you to acquire information about the politicians. Freebase in an entity graph of people, places and things, built by a community that loves open data, and it powers the Knowledge Graph.
freebase.com

Google Cloud Platform enable developers to build, test and deploy applications on Google's highly-scalable and reliable infrastructure. Products include Google Compute Engine, Google App Engine, Storage services including Cloud SQL and Cloud Storage, and big data analytics tool Big Query, etc.

Participants of VIP Hackathon receives $500 credit to build their apps by going to starterpack site and using promo code "voting-hack".


Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are my own, and do not reflect those of my employer. -Fumi Yamazaki