A useable API for Government
Currently accessible @ gov-api.humont.dev
For years now I've come back again and again to the problem of an informed citizenry. The internet seems to have largely demolished the fourth estates role in keeping citizens informed as to what is actually happening, whilst also creating new avenues for misinformation to spread. Yet we were promised the opposite: that the internet, the "information superhighway" as it was once called, would make it easier for people to remain informed, and harder for those wishing to mislead to actually do so.
Whilst there are probably a whole host of reasons as to why we have ended up where we are, and I'm sure there are some very intelligent people who have come up with frameworks to analyse and explain it, to me it would appear that one important factor is this:
Despite having the means of instantaneous and comprehensive access to information, many institutions have yet to actually make that data accessible.
By accessible, I don't just mean available: I mean that the information can be discovered, and digested in a meaningful way by most citizens. Which brings me to the current idea - an accessible API (application programming interface) for government institutions and services, where developers or citizens with the technical know-how traverse the reams of data. It will make available data accessible. It will make it easy to build dashboards that presents this data. It will, hopefully, allow for at least a small portion of the citizenry to become better informed.
I am deploying a GraphQL endpoint over the existing U.K. parliament RESTful API. Right now, the endpoint covers only a portion of the Members API found on the UK Parliament's developer hub. Now that the basic architecture is in place, and that I've made some initial decisions as to the shape of the data, I'll use the next few weeks to finish coverage of the entire developer API for parliament.
The hope is that over time, this endpoint will cover more and more government services, creating a single point of access for other developers (and myself) to play around with creating dashboards, tables, and any other imaginable view on top of this data.
This is trickier. Access should be free (this is, after all, publicly available data). However, time and effort are being spent to create this project, so remuneration is somewhat desirable. I think I'll rate limit access, and create a tier with no limits at a fixed price. This is obviously subject to change.