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Pam Selle is a News Apps Developer and Community Evangelist forAxisPhilly, a nonprofit investigative news organization that prioritizes work in the public interest. She is a resident of Philadelphia, speaks at national and regional technical events, and blogs at thewebivore.com. Follow her at @pamasaur.
Philadelphia is known as a leader in the open government movement – the city lays claim to the second Chief Data Officer in the country (Sunlight OpenGov Champion Mark Headd), is a two-time Code for America host city, is home to an active Code for America Brigade and has social good hackathons at least every month, sometimes every week. There’s a strong interest in creating applications to inform and empower citizens with apps such as Lobbying.ph, PhillySNAP and Baldwin using public data for their respective purposes.
In February, the city released the AVI calculator, an online app that helps residents determine real estate taxes under a new policy that went into effect. The city also made the data powering the calculator available as an API. This allowed AxisPhilly, an independent, nonprofit news organization, use the AVI calculator API and transform it from just informational to a discussion tool.