Very late on Tuesday night I was asked a question on twitter – can you help get a government site up in short order? The question was prompted by this.
GovSpark is a simply wonderful idea from 16 year old coder Isabell Long that emerged from Emma Mulqueeny’s Young Rewired State. Isabell wrote last month…
I came up with the idea because the government had just released some live and historical energy consumption data, but it was all held on the respective department websites and not central anywhere. GovSpark aims to be the central website for people to go so that they can see what the energy consumption of a certain department is at that time. The government also have targets to reduce usage by 80% by 2050, so I thought it would be a good tool to show how well one department is doing compared to another department.
Because it was Emma asking we said yes. Glyn Wintle had already sweated to build an API which ran off live data for energy use in government buildings in Whitehall. We were given less than a day to help push it across the finishing line by deciding what it ought to look like and making it look that way. Josh Hart coded like a lunatic and the talented and calm Ryan Dean-Corke of Substrakt sorted out some visuals for us.
As the Downing Street website reported this morning…
The Prime Minister has today challenged Whitehall Ministries to compete to slash the energy used in their departmental headquarters over the month of October.
The league table application, called GovSpark, will show data from the 18 Government Real Time Displays. The original prototype for GovSpark was developed by Isabell Long, aged 16, during Young Rewired State 2010, an event run for young developers aged 15-18 working with open government data.
It’s always a pleasure to help something good happen, in fact that’s what we are here for really. The best bit was a short e-mail from a clearly chuffed Isabell
It looks amazing – I really love it! Everything has finally come together! 🙂
In less than a month in total Isabell’s idea has turned into site which is running a blindingly simple competition to help civil servants use less energy. It gives civil servants the information and incentive to switch things off, or find way to cut emissions.
We can only take a tiny bit of credit for helping. The site was sponsored and funded by The Stationery Office and the real work, before our last scramble, came from Glyn and Emma Mulqueeny. Thanks very much to Sarah Marshall for spotting Emma’s cry for help and asking us to get involved.
Now I know why you were so distracted when we met on Wednesday — I’m really pleased you were (honest!). This is an amazing achievement. Really well done, brilliantly done, and all in a few hours. And even Dave, it seems, has noticed: http://www.number10.gov.uk/news/topstorynews/2010/09/pm-challenges-departments-to-slash-energy-use-55332