Using Mashups to Create a More Efficient Government?

Tina Gasperson
May. 14 2009, 04:29AM EDT

InternetNews.com's Kenneth Corbin recently wrote about the National Association of State CIOs conference, where White House science and technology adviser Beth Noveck spoke to attendees about opening up government processes to collaboration in an open source model. According to Corbin, Noveck hinted about an API-driven model that could produce citizen-created mashups and applications.

Using the notorious backlog of the U.S. Patent Office as an example of an area that has benefited from crowd-sourcing via the Peer to Patent project, Noveck said that opening up other processes to the public could increase effectiveness and efficiency across the board. Corbin writes:

"Noveck envisions the same type of phenomenon occurring across government if concerned citizens with a little technical expertise were invited to develop applications using government data. Bringing government on board could lead to a flood of data-driven mashups that would expand some of the efforts already underway by nonprofits and private-sector groups, such as the search tool for public data Google unveiled last month.

Those apps and mashups could be a catalyst for wider civic engagement, Noveck said, noting that too much government data is presented in an uninspired text or numeric format: "Presenting data about the spread of swine flu in the form of a heat map, for example, is going to resonate with more people than simply listing the number of outbreaks in each state in a static column." (And indeed as we recently reported, a range of people and organizations created swine flu mashups, including a Google Maps and Twitter mashup that graphically tracks tweets on a map of the United States divided by region).

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We continue to see an increasing number of government-related APIs and mashups here on ProgrammableWeb. Use our Government API and Mashup Center and our new Government API and Mashup feed to get the latest.

Tina Gasperson Tina Gasperson has been writing about technology and the Web since 1999.

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