MapIt is a simple service that takes a lat/long and returns the IDs of any admin boundaries that that point falls within. Exists as an API that returns JSON or html that can return readable pages. It's used in FixMyStreet so when you click on a map it will return the councils responsible for that area; we also use it in WriteToThem to match postcodes with representatives. We rate limit it a bit but anyone can use the API.
JM: Yes, fundamentally MapIt and RB do the same thing. The link above describes the fine-grained differences.
Paul: In the UK it's being used for a voter advice application in advance of the election. Will use the MapIt information to match user to constituency and tell the user how others are planning to vote/what opinions are in their constituency.
Myf NThis task was funded by the Poplus awards and it's underway right now.
Felipe: Is it configurable?
Guglielmo: Yes you can grab data from a number of different components simultaneously, perhaps we could have an indepth tech call another time to talk more about that.
Some of the difficulties we've found using Components:
we've been trying to get everything out of them. One thing - MapIt has a weird urls schema. The API is not really REST and doesn't use HATEOAS principle. It's difficult to navigate in the API, move from one result to the other easily, or turn result pages
For the use cases we're using right now it's mostly ok.
It's a django project but an old fashioned one, doesn't use Django Rest Framework or Tastypie.
Dave W: MapIt was built for our own purposes, management tasks on the command line to write to the data, you're right, and it isn't suitable for all tasks and yes, it is old.
Guglielmo: Could be easily rewritten using Django Rest Framework or Tastypie. Could offer more RESTful API.
Guglielmo: By the end of March we will have finished the prototype although it's not very clear which parts we are going to integrate. We wd like to add SayIt so that we are integrating three different components. There is a prototype that is live right now.
Citizens are also using YNMP directly to find out about the candidates for the forthcoming UK general election. About 3.500 a day at the moment and growing exponentially.
Jen: mySociety research event: Conference sold out. Social media around the conference plus videos of sessions avail after conf.
Steven C56ttttttttttbhg3n4[pl,jmnfnnnnj.,uj6n/h/63.9/,gte0w-*******-* - Input from my Cat!!!
1) Review of prior meeting and actions (no more than 10 mins)
2) Defining the milestones for Poplus between now and the end of March 2015
Define up to three milestones for each of the committees
(and reflect upon what has already been achieved in the committees)
(no more 30 mins discussion time)
3) The process for reviewing the micro-grant applications (no more than ten mins)
4) AOB and review of actions (no more than 10 mins)
a) Having a milestone of successful deployments of Poplus components
i) 4 by the end of December 2014
ii) 2 further by the end of March 2015
b) Having "virtual onboarding" for people new to Poplus - e.g, two two-hour hangout sessions with technologists and evangelists from Poplus - one every two months, first one to be mid October, next two months later
Tom Sc) Specify and then deliver 'products' for each of three different possible user groups. e.g Poplus core actor, more techy but less involved in the community, less techy but very much interested in the benefits of using technology for their work - end of October target date - TS to draft - see action
Paul Ld) Comms committee milestones to be agreed post Tom / Paul / SC
Paul LDraft One-Pager on why funding projects that use components is a good idea
Avoiding Reinvention - Why funding projects that use Poplus components makes sense
What are Poplus Components?
Poplus Components are independent pieces of software developed to solve a range of common problems encountered when building civic and democratic websites.
These common problems include tasks like:
Making and maintaining up-to-date data on politicians (and governments?)
Working out what district, city or region a particular problem or politician relates to
Storing speech transcripts in a structured, accessible format
Storing voting data in a structure, accessible format
What is the technical vision behind Poplus Components?
Coders will always want to build their own sites, using their own favoured software language, in preference to learning other people’s big, complex platforms. The Components are our answer to the question “how do we make coders working on civic and political projects more efficient and more successful?”
Whilst coders already have mature databases, operating systems, languages and web frameworks to work with, they don’t have any pieces that are “further up the stack” other than completely generic open source development tools. They don’t have technologies that model and solve common political and civic tech problems. This is where the Components fit it. They’re more task-specific than python or mySQL but much more generic than Ushahidi or CiviCRM. To make them attractive to coders who develop in a diverse range of languages they expose themselves via APIs - so there’s no need to know the language they’re written in.
So why does funding projects that use Poplus Components Make sense?
If you received a project application in which someone was seeking funding for a project that involved coding a blogging website from scratch it would be immediately obvious to you that this was a poor use of resources. The problem of creating a blogging platform has been solved many times over, and there a wide-range of off the shelf solutions that can be employed.
Projects that use Poplus Components offer similar efficiencies, they:
Save weeks, even months of development time, and hence cost
They launch faster
The tools created are simply better, as the underlying components have had person-years of development time put into them and input from users across the globe
Rather than running on a code base that is only properly understood and supported by a single team, components are developed, contributed to and maintained by a wide range of groups and individuals around the world