Micro Attempts At Being The Change I Want To See in Government22 Jul 2015
One by-product of being as OCD as I am, is that I am always looking for the smallest possible way that I can help grease the wheels of the API economy. A big part of helping the average person understand any company or API, is possessing a simple image to represent the concept, either a screenshot, logo, or other visualization. A picture is worth a thousand words, and as essential to API operations, as your actual service.
As I worked to understand the agencies that power our federal government, I quickly realized, I needed a logo for each of the 246 federal agencies--something that didn't exist. I could find many on Wikipedia, and Google for the others, but there was no single source of logos for federal agencies--even at the Federal Government Directory API from USA.gov. Unacceptable, I created my own, and published to Github.
Ultimately, I am not happy with all of the logos I found, and think it can be greatly improved upon, but it provides me with a base title, description, and image for each of our federal agencies. It is something you can find in the Github repository for my federal government API research, and a JSON representation of all federal agencies + logos under the data folder for the research.
It took me about 6 hours to do this work, and it is something I know has been used by others, including within the federal government, as well as across numerous of my own API research, and storytelling. These are the little actions I enjoy inflicting, helping to wield APIs, and machine readable, meaningful, openly available, micro data-sets that can be used in as many scenarios as possible. Logos might seem irrelevant in the larger open data war, but when it comes to the smaller skirmishes a logo is an important tool in your toolbox.