Open Government Camp: Sunlight’s tools for transparency

So this one time, at Transparency Camp

I’m still thinking through all of the things I learned at the Sunlight Foundation’s annual unconference last weekend. My top level takeaway was the large number of international campers solidified that transparency has gone global. At an operational level, I thought that the Sunlight Foundation used the combination of Internet and mobile technology to organize better than any of the previous unconferences I’ve attended. They raised the bar for interactivity with a new mobile app, integrated displays and livestreaming.

Putting the tools together to bring off a big camp is a lot harder than listing them, but by sharing the tools for transparency that the organizers used, Scott Stadum did the open government community a mitzvah. While that mobile app required development time and expertise, the vast majority of these tools are free on the Web.

Here’s a quick rundown of the tools that were used during Transparency Camp 2011:

Great stuff.

Stadum did forget one tool, even as he used it: the Sunlight Foundation’s blog.

From where I sit, a well designed and maintained blog continues to be extremely useful as the hub for organizing, particularly in a Web application ecosystem that supports the kind of diversity in platforms listed above. Sunlight does a great job with that, and in using it as a platform to track news that matter, like open government data.

Thanks again to the organizers, sponsors, hosts and, most of all, the attendees of Transparency Camp, who taught me a lot about open government over the course of two days.

About Alex Howard

Alexander B. Howard is a DC-based a technology writer and editor. Previously, he was the Washington Correspondent at O'Reilly Media, where he covered the voices, technologies and issues that matter in the intersection of government, technology and society. If you're feeling social, you can follow him on Twitter, like him on Facebook or circle him on Google Plus In addition to corresponding for the O’Reilly Radar, he has contributed to the Huffington Post, Govfresh, Mashable, ReadWriteWeb, National Journal, The Atlantic, CBS News and Forbes. He graduated from Colby College with a bachelor's degree in biology and sociology. Currently, he is a resident of the District of Columbia, where he lives with his greyhound, wife, power tools, plants and growing collection of cast iron pans, many of which are frequently used to pursue his passion for good cooking.

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