Poplus grant recipients

09 Oct 2014 by Jen

We recently held a call for proposals - we had several grants of up to USD $5,000 available to help fund projects which made use of a Poplus Component, or proposed a completely new one. The recipients have been chosen, and I thought I’d share with you the Poplus Governance Committee’s decisions. Here’s what we’ll be funding:

Project 1:

Group & Country: Sinar Project, Malaysia
Proposal: Using PopIt and potentially TrackIt (or another similar accountability Component) monitor politicians in Malaysia and display their details.
Problem: There is no single public API or reference database for current and past electoral candidates and representatives in Malaysia. Several civil society and media organisations each have their own copy, but they differ in quality, format and completeness.
Solution: To build a database on PopIt of current and past electoral candidates and representatives, which will then be used as lookup reference for a public corruption database, in partnership with local media and transparency organisations.
How the funding will be spent:
1. The creation of a database of people, organisations (political parties/government departments/ministries) and their positions/memberships. At the least this will include all people/parties from the past three elections, so about one to two thousand entries. 2. The publication of accountable Malaysian issues, parsed from public Auditor General reports dating back three to five years.
Amount awarded: $5,000

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Project 2:

Group & Country: Cargografias, Argentina
Proposal: A Component for PopIt so that it can visualise relationships.
Problem: The PopIt interface is great for people who know how to interpret raw data; however that doesn’t make it accessible for people who might not have those skills.
Solution: Cargografias has been working on relationship visualisation since May 2013. They want to make their visualisation module work with PopIt so that data, once input, is easier to interpret and use for the average citizen.
They are focusing on visualisation modules using D3.js, and using angular.js as a middleman between d3 and PopIt.They want to make their visualisation modules work directly as an extension of PopIt, to be able to show the people inside the PopIt instance as timelines, gantt charts, bubble maps, etc.
What they want the money for: It will go towards payment for the developers to write the code to make this happen. They’ll also look at paying for hosting and perhaps running an event to help launch the component in Argentina.
Amount awarded: $3,000

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Project 3:

Group & Country: Associazione Openpolis, Italy
Proposal: A python interface for Poplus Components, to ease the development of software solutions based on the composition of more than one Component.
Problem: When two or more Components are used together to create a larger web application, the integration between Components through API calls may be awkward, and usually the same sort of problems tend to recur every time; e.g. data synchronisation and caching, or the joins between data in different Components.
Also, a lot of boilerplate code, to programmatically access the data through API calls needs to be written.
Solution: They will develop a prototype in python, using PopIt, MapIt and SayIt, to reproduce the functionalities of one of their web applications (http://politici.openpolis.it).
What they want the money for: The payment of a developer for two or more months to analyse and implement the prototype features.
Amount awarded: $5,000

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Project 4:

Group & Country: Fundación Mexicana de Periodismo de Investigación, Mexico
Proposal: Adding further categories to the PopIt Component to make it useful for journalists.
Problem: Information about politicians in Mexico - information on anything from qualifications to news stories - is not all in one place, so it’s not easy to find or search.
Solution: Fundación MEPI believes that one way of improving information flow in Mexico is to aggregate news in interactive databases which would contain information on specific issues or institutions.
They have gathered information on the members of the bicameral assembly, including the 500 members of the Chamber of Deputies and the 128 members of the Senate, with a total of five thousand entries, which include schooling, work experience, links to companies, voting record related to companies, connections to the news media, criminal backgrounds, sexual harassment charges, and other elements.
The database will be set up to not only find information on each individual member of Congress, but to help make comparisons on how the different parties represented in Congress decide on particular issues, all with a simple query. For example, do congressmen from the Partido Revolucionario Institucional, PRI, fare worse in ethical issues when compared to those of the Partido de Accion Nacional, or the Partido de la Revolucion Democratica, PRD? Which party has more congressmen with links to businesses and corporations? Which congressmen, from which party, have more conflict of interest issues?
What they want the money for: Designing a front-end, fact checking the database and adding new categories to PopIt. They’ll also add the candidates for their July 2015 elections in to the database.
Amount awarded: $3,000

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Project 5:

Group & Country: OpenAustralia Foundation, Australia
Proposal: Making Cuttlefish.io a Poplus Component.
Problem: Sending transactional email from applications seems like it’s really easy but it’s not. As soon as you start taking into account email bounce handling, SPF, DKIM, blacklist handing and numerous other things it becomes quickly very complicated. Also looking at what email is being sent and debugging problems often becomes a case of delving through incomprehensible log files on your server. Ick.
Solution: Cuttlefish aims to make sending email from applications fun again by handling things like bounce detection automatically. It gives you a beautiful user interface which allows you to see how many emails you’re sending and which applications are sending them in real time. Also, Cuttlefish has built in email open detection, and link tracking so you can truly understand how people are interacting with your emails.
What they want the money for: Creating a multi-tenanting feature for Cuttlefish.io to allow multiple users to access the admin area on a hosted service without seeing each other’s emails. Paying for hosting for 1 year so Poplus users can have the service for free. Getting Cuttlefish.io approved as a Poplus Component and getting 5+ users within 6 months.
Amount awarded: $4,027

There you have it. It was a pretty hard decision, as we had some other good proposals. But these ones stood out as giving the greatest benefit to the community as a whole and having the greatest potential for reuse.

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