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DC Open311 API – Ruby Gem


Background: The DC government is exposing an API for their 311 call center, to allow application developers to build open source tools to make it easier for citizens to submit issues. As part of it, they and iStrategyLabs have launched a second Apps for Democracy contest. The creative juices are flowing, and I have a few ideas I plan on implementing.

But first things first… in order to make it even easier for myself and for other developers, I built out a ruby gem that interacts with the Open311 and Geolocation API. I know I’m helping out my competition, but it’s all for the better good, right? Here you go:


You can also grab it from github: http://github.com/skeevis/dcgov/tree/master

Download and install it, and you should be set. It’s fully tested using rspec, so just open up the spec folder and you’ll be able to exavtly how it works. I’ll eventually add this to rubyforge, but for now you can take the extra step 🙂

DC OCTO has a ways to go. The API is supposed to launch on July 1st, but they certainly have a lot more to do with the API, both in terms of development and documentation. The Geolocation API seems to be pretty solid. The 311 API has unimplemented (stubbed) functions, spelling mistakes in variable names, no error handling, and no documentation (the “submit” function, the most important, is a total mystery). It’s too bad that people will find this when they head to the CodeJam over the weekend, but oh well.

Good luck to everyone else!


  • Glad you all plan on using it. Let me know how I can help, or if you’d like to help out!

  • Wow octolabs that just made my day and honestly changed my view of octo a bit. Then again I used to love working with the Octo GIS guy’s but sadly most of my work surrounded the dark side where mid-project all of the sudden my project was taken over and in such a way well. I’m sparing the details. But that was in the s.peck days so who knows.

    Anyways I came across this which might be way cooler than my Rubington wrapper to the citizenatlas webservice.
    I’m about to commit it on github if you want to check it out http://github.com/atomist/rubington/tree/master

    Anyways big ups octo I’m currently at 1350 Penn 2 times a week so working on vmware and writing a intranet in rails for the council.

By Zvi
Zvi Band Relationships are our most important asset.

Zvi Band

Founder of Contactually.
I'm also passionate about growing the DC startup community, and I've founded Proudly Made in DC and the DC Tech Meetup.