GitHub’s about connecting with developers. Whether you’re an API publishing pro, or just getting started, creating a “feedback” repository can go a long way to connect your organization with the community. Get feedback from current and potential data consumers by creating a specific repository for them to contribute ideas and suggestions for types of data or other information they’d like to see opened. Here’s how:
README.mdwithin your newly created repository
Sample text for your
# City of Gotham Feedback We've just joined GitHub and want to know what data would be interesting to our development community? Leave us comments via issues!
Open sourcing a dataset can be as simple as uploading a
.csv to GitHub and letting people know about it. Rather than publishing data as a zip file on your website or an FTP server, you can add the files through the GitHub.com web interface, or via the GitHub for Windows or GitHub for Mac native clients. Create a new repository to store your datasets - in many cases, it’s as easy as drag, drop, sync.
GitHub can host any file type (although open, non-binary files like
.csvs tend to work best). Plus, GitHub supports rendering certain open data formats interactively such as the popular geospacial
.geojson format. Once uploaded, citizens can view the files, and can even open issues or submit pull requests with proposed fixes.
There are many open source applications freely available on GitHub that were built just for government. Check them out, and see if it fits a need. Here are some examples:
Adopt-a - This open source web app was created for the City of Boston in 2011 by Code for America fellows. It allows residents to “adopt” a hydrant and make sure it’s clear of snow in the winter so that emergency crews can locate them when needed. It has since been adopted in Chicago (for sidewalks), Seattle (for storm drains), and Honolulu (for tsunami sirens).
Streetmix - Another creation of Code for America fellows (2013) this website, www.streetmix.net, allows anyone to create street sections in a way that is not only beautiful but educational, too. No downloading, no installing, no paying - make and save your creations right at the website. Great for internal or public community planning meetings.
Chances are you’ve got something small you can open source. Check in with your web or new media team, and see if they’ve got something they’ve been dying to share or blog about, no matter how small. It can be snippet of analytics code, or maybe a small script used internally. It doesn’t even have to be code.
Does your agency use an existing open source project to conduct its own business? Open an issue on the project’s repository with a feature request or a bug you spot. Better yet, fork the project, and submit your improvements. Even if it’s one or two lines of code, such examples are great to blog about to showcase your efforts.
Don’t forget, this site is an open source project, too. Making a needed edit is another great way to get started.