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Make Government Data Pretty, Win Cash

May 3, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

Attention, web designers and visual artists. Sunlight Labs’ first ever Design for America contest is currently underway. They are offering $40,000 for examples in eight categories of government information made awesome through design and visualization. Jump on it now as the submission deadline is approaching quickly (though you still have some time).

In the past few years, the Obama Administration and private citizen hackers have made a huge amount of bulk data available to the public for the first time ever. The Design for America contest is a cool way to kick-start the data being adopted more widely by showing the world some cool new usages, including showing the government what private citizens can do for the common good by simply having access to government data in an open format.

To get started with brainstorming, I recommend taking a look at, and the Sunlight API. Also, be sure to check out the OpenCongress API, which gives you access to all the social data on Congress we’re producing and aggregating. For example, you can get structured data on which senators are being written about the most in the blogs, which bills are being supported by OpenCongress users that are supporting some other bill, and how every Member of Congress is voting on any set of bills. We’ll be highlighting the winners of the contest on this blog and on our Twitter feed, and we’ll also feature all entries that use data from the OpenCongress API.

The deadline for submissions is May 17th! All formats accepted. Check out the announcement at Sunlight Labs for all the information you need to get started.

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