White House Releases We the People API to the Public

Janet Wagner, Data Journalist / Full Stack Developer
May. 03 2013, 09:00AM EDT

Back in February, ProgrammableWeb reported that The White House had released a new We the People API to a select group of developers at the February 2013 White House Open Data Day Hackathon. The White House has now announced that the read-only version of the We the People API has been released to the public.

We the People Petition Mapper

We the People Petition Mapper App - Screenshot of Live Demo

The read-only version of the We the People API allows developers access to the data on all publicly-available petitions (petitions that pass the 150 signature threshold requirement become publicly-available on the We The People site). There is also a bulk data download (SQL dump) available for developers who do not need real-time petition data.

The We the People API responses are returned in JSON data format and the type of petition data that can be called includes a list of petitions, individual petitions and individual petition signatures.

The White House has also created an API gallery site that showcases applications using the We the People API. Below are a few of the applications showcased in the gallery:

  • The Widget the People Tool - Application allows users to search for a petition by headline then create a "signatures still needed" embeddable widget.
  • R We the People - An application for the R statistics environment. Users can load petition data and create visualizations such as word clouds.
  • We the People Petition Mapper - Application allows users to render embeddable maps of petition signatures.
  • Where the People - Application generates a visualization based on the location of petition signers.

Developers interested in using the We the People API can find more information at the We the People Developers website.

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

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