Developers at National Day of Civic Hacking Use US Census Bureau API to Create Innovative App and Infographics

Janet Wagner, Data Journalist / Full Stack Developer
Jun. 13 2013, 01:00PM EDT

Over 11,000 people participated in the first annual National Day of Civic Hacking on June 1st and 2nd, 2013. At the event, developers collaborated with government agencies and entrepreneurs to create applications that help solve civic and social problems impacting local communities. Developers used a variety of public APIs and datasets to create their applications, including the US Census Bureau API, which was used to create an interactive application and several infographics. The US Census Bureau API is the first API created by the US Census Bureau and was released to the public back in July 2012.

Census Visual Data Explorer App

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The Census Visual Data Explorer application was created by Calvin Metcalf, Kyle Box and Laura Evans at the RHoK Boston - National Day of Civic Hacking. The app displays different types of Census data on a large map. There are four types of maps users can select from and the app displays the data by counties. Users can select US Census data from a drop down menu which includes data such as Inequality, Below Poverty Line, Per Capita Income, Population, On Food Stamps and much more.

US Census data, along with data from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, was used by Kevin Ohashi as part of data analysis and to create several infographics including a heat map and a bar chart.

Thomas Mesenbourg, Census Bureau Acting Director, says in the press release that:

"These new applications offer inspiring examples of the kind of innovative tools that can be created using statistics from the American Community Survey. By accessing our data through the API, developers have harnessed the power of these statistics to create practical new applications that will give communities greater insight when answering real-world questions."

Last year, the Census Bureau released its first mobile app, America's Economy. The app provides users with "16 economic indicators" from data available through the US Census Bureau, Bureau of Economic Analysis and Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Developers interested in using the US Census Bureau API in web and mobile applications can find detailed documentation at the Census Bureau Developers site. There is also helpful information at the Census Bureau API Developers forum.

Janet Wagner Janet is a data journalist and full stack developer based in Toledo, Ohio. Her focus revolves around APIs, open data, data visualization and data-driven journalism. Follow her on Twitter: @webcodepro and on Google+

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