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Councilmatic: 18 months in the making, use this web app to track City Council legislation

First quietly started at a hackathon in March 2011, a web app to help you track City Council legislation and debate finally soft launched recently. Meet Councilmatic. Conceptualized and now launched by former Code for America fellow Mjumbe Poe and initially developed with the help of others at hackathons over the past year and a […]

OpenPlans developer Mjumbe Poe has been working on Councilmatic, a city legislation tool, for more than two years.

First quietly started at a hackathon in March 2011, a web app to help you track City Council legislation and debate finally soft launched recently.

Meet Councilmatic.

Conceptualized and now launched by former Code for America fellow Mjumbe Poe and initially developed with the help of others at hackathons over the past year and a half, the web app allows you to sign up for alerts regarding legislation that matters to you.

It is heavy on search functionality, with some important filters, and Poe says the tool needs to be made more robust, but, three years later, Councilmatic just might be the closest shot at becoming a replacement for Hallwatch.org.

Councilmatic aims to contextualize legislation for citizens, by drawing links between relevant bills. The site also hopes to be a place for discussion — citizens can comment on legislation.

The site is live but is still “undergoing development” and doesn’t have many users, Poe says, as he hasn’t had a chance to make any official announcements.

Poe, a software developer at OpenPlans, says he came up with the idea for site more than a year ago, when he had a hard time following a city budget issue and realized there was no easy way to get updates on relevant legislation.

What’s next for Councilmatic?

Poe says he’s been speaking with Neil Budde of the Philadelphia Public Interest Information Network (PPIIN), the organization which recently took ownership of OpenDataPhilly.org, about PPIIN hosting the site in part because it’s expensive for Poe to host it himself. He says he doesn’t want the site’s usefulness to rely on his ability to pay for the hosting.

Poe is working on a site redesign with a designer from Wisconsin who discovered the site and took an interest in the project. He also says he wants to reach out to City Council regarding the site.

Companies: OpenPlans / Philadelphia Public Interest Information Network

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