Halfway to 50

This page originally appeared at https://sunlightfoundation.com/2011/05/06/open-states-halfway/ but has been replicated here for posterity.

Today marks an important milestone for the Open State Project: the addition of New York to our list of experimental states brings our total number of supported states to 25 (plus Washington DC). This marks the halfway point on our journey to bring clean, consistent, machine readable legislative information to all 50 states.

This means that residents of 25 states (accounting for approximately two-thirds of US citizens) can access their state’s legislative data in a variety of machine readable formats (JSON, XML, CSV) and will soon be benefiting from sites like like OpenGovernment.org and MyGov365 that use our bulk downloads and free API to keep citizens informed about their state legislature.

It’s important to acknowledge that there’s no way we’d be here without the support of all of our various contributors and users, so this is just as much a victory for us as it is for all of you that’ve been involved over the past two years.

What’s New

In addition to working towards this milestone we’ve also announced a number of improvements to our data offerings in recent months.

  • Experimental XML output is now available via our API in addition to the default JSON output.
  • Customizable API responses allow you to specify what fields you plan to use when making a request. This is beneficial for mobile applications and other situations where the size and number of queries is important.
  • CSV bulk downloads are now available in addition to our monthly database dumps.
  • A new status dashboard allows you to view the amount of data collected from each state, and will eventually provide some basic data quality metrics as well.
  • An @openstates twitter account, for regular updates on new features/availability and minor announcements.

What’s Coming

Our focus through the remainder of 2011 is going from 25 states to 50. Though that’ll be our focus we have some exciting things planned that we can’t wait to unveil so stay tuned both here and on the @openstates twitter account.

If you have ideas about what you’d like to see please join the Open States Google Group or check out our source on GitHub and start contributing today.