“Get off your index and build your Rolodex,” read the invite to last night’s Data BBQ in Washington, D.C.
And last night, that’s exactly what over a hundred people from around D.C.’s growing tech scene did, spilling out of the revamped officers of Insomniac Design in Bladgen Alley, near Mount Vernon Square.
The crowd was leavened with many attendees from the ongoing mHealth Summit 2010, manyof DC’s open data geeks and supporters and. Expert Labs’ Gina Trapani and Waxy.org’s Andy Baio came by from the FCC’s Open Developer Day to mix and mingle too. The highlight of the Data BBQ was the lightning talks, where attendees pitched projects, ideas, jobs or even spare rooms to the crowd. The talks are embedded below:
And, judging by the show of hands, many of the Data BBQ’ers had also heard about the World Bank’s Global Apps for Development Competition, which is looking to the development and practitioner communities to create innovative apps using World Bank data.
What might have been new to a few, at least, was the upcoming Apps for Army competition for the public, where the successful apps competition that Peter Corbett and iStrategy Labs helped the Army run will be rebooted for wider participation.
The Bank is increasing the number of indicators available on the site from 339 to more than 1,200, and it has substantially improved its API. Four different languages are supported on the site, along with an improved data browser, feedback buttons, instant search, and embeddable widgets.
“The new site shows the art of the possibility,” said Eric Gundersen of Development Seed, the D.C.-based Drupal shop behind the World Bank’s data catalog. “This is really actionable information. So many more NGOs [non-governmental organizations] can now make data-informed decisions if they have access.”
A team of researchers from Development Gateway and AidData have worked with the World Bank to add detailed subnational geographical information to all of the Bank’s active projects in the Africa and Latin America region. This isn’t just pins in a map showing the country where the money is spent: they have looked through the project documentation to find out as far as possible the geographic coordinates of the actual locations where aid the activities take place.
This video by AidData explains brilliantly what geocoding means, and why its important.
As I also reported at Radar, the World Bank wil be running an Apps for Development contest, launching on Oct. 7. In addition to the contest, the World Bank will host an open forum on Oct. 7 that will feature experts from the open data movement via live webcasts and a 24-hour chatroom.