Not only is Yahoo! Developer Network the sponsor of the hacker lounge, they also have some stuff for us to hack on. And what could be better than public data? Dig in. Yahoo! has announced that US government data is now available through YQL.
Better yet, you could join Yahoo! Developer Networks Tom Hughes-Croucher and OSU Open Source Labs’ Peter Krenesky to work on the 50 states project:
Sunlight [Foundation] wants to make sure that legislative information for every single state is easily available. Many of the state government websites are hard to navigate, and provide information in formats that aren’t exactly Web 2.0 friendly (CSV anyone?). The 50 States Project aims to rectify that and make important information easily available for anyone who wants to know what’s going on in their state. We’ve built an example of how you can scrape data by building open tables to get the data from the Louisiana legislature. We hope we can inspire you to write many more tables, one for every state. I’m going to be writing in more detail soon about how I did it and what I learned, and how that can be applied to get data from any web form system. If you live in the Portland, Oregon area and are interested in hacking on the 50 States Project, I’ll be up at the Hacker Lounge for OSBridge this week.
Sound interesting? The hacker lounge at the top of the Portland Hilton is open 24-hours. That should give you plenty of time to muck with this new offering.