[ddj] Getting quotes on data projects

Alex Salkever alex at silk.co
Fri Aug 21 13:22:22 UTC 2015


Have a look at Silk.co (shameless plug - I work there)

We're actually talking to some governments about smaller OpenGov projects
(under 10k rows - soon to be much larger) and the nice thing about Silk is
that it's *free*, requires no code, data is 100% transparent by default,
and data modeling is as simple as a spreadsheet. Also handling images /
video alongside data is a plus. Our built-in visualization engine allows
for rapid creation of tables, charts, maps, image galleries, and more.

An OpenGov site can be up and running on Silk in an hour or less in most
cases. Custom domains are also possible.

Take a look at some of the examples in our gallery. I'd be happy to answer
any questions as well.

We love OpenGov and are really excited to see people do interesting things
with data and visualizations in this area.


On Fri, Aug 21, 2015 at 7:34 AM, Matthew Linares <
matthew.linares at opendemocracy.net> wrote:

> Hi all,
> I wonder if you have any useful advice and resources for getting credible,
> comprehensive quotes from developers and agencies on bespoke civic data
> projects. As with any IT procurement-type exercise, there are many
> approaches.
> In a very short timeframe, we need to cost up a rough specification for a
> project which will involve data modelling, wrangling, back-end build,
> front-end and other desirables. There are, of course, variables which will
> make any estimate subject to change, but we need someone who has worked on
> similar projects to attach fees to the tasks we envisage being necessary,
> and to augment our task list where we may have missed some.
> The *data community* has been very helpful and our first approach has
> been to the various developers who have built great products in this field.
> We are also talking to related platforms like Kumu <https://www.kumu.io/>.
> My questions are:
> – Have you taken other approaches e.g. using general web dev agencies, or
> posting this sort of work on freelance developer fora?
> – Have you found that civic data work requires skills and sensitivities
> that are quite distinct from more general web dev?
> – Any advice on dividing up the work (data wrangling, modelling, back-end
> build) between specialists?
> – Thoughts on seeking turnkey solutions versus building your own or
> customising existing projects.
> – Any other considerations?
> Our search continues to get good quotes. If you're a developer who is
> interested in an exciting project proposal, please get in touch.
> Thanks for your thoughts!
> To give more detail on what we're looking for, here's an outline of tasks
> we expect will need to be done, with some context:
> *Expected dev tasks*
> Probably split up between developers with varying specialisms.
> *Data modelling*
> – Propose an extensible data model, incorporating various data sources
> (provided by us), both structured (e.g. theyworkforyou
> <http://parser.theyworkforyou.com/members.html>) and unstructured (e.g.
> ongoing FOI requests), to serve as the basis for database querying. Should
> respect standards, e.g. Popolo and perhaps others
> <http://influencemapping.org/data-standards/>. Should facilitate
> meaningful relations between various data sources (e.g. parliamentary
> records and company data).
> – Bring data sources together into the model, cleaning data where
> necessary. Creating documented wrangling scripts, etc.. Ensure clarity
> about how data model can be extended in future.
> – Advise on management, presentation and communication of resulting data
> (e.g. "column X is hard to categorise, but we could fuzzy match against Y
> to give a sense of what's going on...").
> *Backend Application*
> – Implement database and admin dashboard to add, edit, delete data
> manually, both individually and in bulk.
> – Backend supplies responses to front-end and other services, e.g. RSS,
> email, etc.
> *Front-end*
> – Gives searchable data on representatives through UX either graph
> <https://www.lobbyradar.de>, or drop-down driven list, or other.
> – Make search results accessible and exportable, e.g. as pdf or csv, as
> image, etc.
> Matthew Linares
> Technical & Publications Coordinator
> openDemocracy.net <https://www.openDemocracy.net>
> --
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Alex Salkever
Head of Marketing / BD
www.silk.co / @silkdotco <http://www.twitter.com/silkdotco> /@silkjournalism
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