Archive | March, 2011

The new gig: return to data

Open Government Data Venn Diagram

diagram by Justin Grimes

I’m about two weeks into a new job with the National Priorities Project (NPP), a small, non-profit organization based in Northampton, MA.

NPP’s mission is to educate citizens about their federal budget: the budget process, the proposed numbers, and how our government ultimately spends money. All too often, it’s difficult for people to understand how the huge numbers bandied about in Washington, DC affect their states, schools, and communities.

The organization began in 1983, long before technology made it easier to analyze and share this information and long before the likes of sites like

NPP has formed some exciting partnerships in recent years, and I’m excited by our direction: combining the staff’s budget experts with an improved database search tool (launching soon) and an API developed in conjunction with the Sunlight Foundation. Finding additional indicators that, when combined with spending data, will tell a richer budget story. Telling those stories and giving our constituents the means to tell theirs too.

My role will be to look after and augment our database and help create visualizations and web tools for general use. Naturally, I took it upon myself to expand the job description to blogging, so look out budget analysts: I’m coming to gum up your blog with data stories.

It’s daunting, but I’m very excited to jump into the government data transparency community and learn the ropes. I’m also thrilled to return to a data-oriented job.

The ecosystem of government departments and agencies and their respective datasets is downright crazy, but I like crazy. It makes for good blog stories.

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