Maplight technology, data, webtools
NPDEV Maplight Session Notes
- Maplight tracks the influence of money in politics.
- Takes public campaign finance data and analyzes/presents how it influnces politics.
- KY Senate race - $12 million each side spent in 2014, more money was spent than ever,but # of donors decreased
- Where maplight data comes from: FEC, state-level data, local-level data
- Difficulties: integration of multiple data sources & cleaning up messy data
- Where does data come from:
- FEC.gov - massive flatfile downloads that need a *lot* of cleanup/processing/deduplication
- Challenge is to match up the data to present an accurate view, and at the same time find examples of funny business
- Another challenge is figuring out who donated to who - that data is messy
- Name mispellings, company relationships, pac details
- Problems with relying on external data sources that may go down, format may change, etc.
- Have developed an internal crowd-sourcing tool to deal with these issues
- FEC standardizer tool
- Direct communication with journalists, etc.
- Website tools
- Legislation: - maplight.org
- Supporters/opposers list, contributions, map, timeline
- Voter Information: - votersedge.org
- Presents voter guides augmented with contribution info
- Embeddable widgets
- Dealing with the traffic for votersedge was very hard - the maplightfolks did an unfathomable amount of work to put together a spectacular tool!