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More than 11,000 people across the country participated in the National Day of Civic Hacking on June 1-2, with many of them using the rich array of local statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey to develop new online apps.
During the event, software developers and entrepreneurs from across the country collaborated to invent and build solutions using publicly released data, code and technology to solve challenges relevant to communities. Census Bureau staff participated in 31 events throughout the country to help developers use American Community Survey statistics to build new apps.
One app developed at the event creates heat maps that show American Community Survey statistics at the county level across the United States. More examples can be found on the Census Bureau's Developer's Forum in the Application Showcase.
The event is in line with one of the main goals of the Digital Government Strategy, to create "open data" to allow the public to access government data. Through access to data sets in the Census Bureau's application programming interface (API), these new applications use statistics to help communities with economic development issues or with disaster planning.
"These new applications offer inspiring examples of the kind of innovative tools that can be created using statistics from the American Community Survey," said Thomas Mesenbourg, the Census Bureau's acting director. ""By accessing our data through the API, developers have harnessed the power of these statistics to create practical new applications that will give communities greater insight when answering real-world questions."
The statistics were publicly available through the Census Bureau's open API. Developers can access the API online and share ideas through the Census Bureau's Developers Forum.
The API is just one aspect of the Census Bureau's digital transformation. The Census Bureau's first mobile app, America's Economy, was released last year and provides users with 16 economic indicators from the Census Bureau, Bureau of Economic Analysis and Bureau of Labor Statistics.