Overview & Roadmap
Open States is a fairly large & somewhat complex project comprised of many moving parts with a long history.
As you look to contribute, it may be beneficial to understand a little bit about the various components.
These repositories make up the core of the project, if you're looking to contribute there's a 90% chance one of these is what you're looking for.
- openstates - Open States bill & vote scrapers.
- people - Open States People data, maintained as editable YAML files
- text-extraction - Text extraction powering full text search.
- openstates.org - Powers https://openstates.org/ website & API.
- documentation - https://docs.openstates.org/ (you're reading it now)
These repositories are other pieces of our infrastructure, but are generally not interesting to the average person.
- task-definitions - Definitions for bobsled.
- maintenance-scripts - Internal scripts used for various maintenance tasks.
- indiana-docs - A proxy for fetching Indiana’s docs without API key.
- blog - https://blog.openstates.org/
- openstates-district-maps - Source for generating Open States' map tiles.
Our current priorities:
Power User Features
- Add user logins & profiles. (Q1)
- Introduce bill & issue tracking. (Q1)
- Improve data quality and timeliness. (Ongoing)
- Provide publicly accessible data quality dashboard. (Q2)
- Improve speed of most popular graph queries. (TBD)
- Provide simplified endpoints for common queries. (TBD)
- Introduce a pub/sub type mechanism for staying in sync with bill & vote updates. (TBD)
- Add new per-state CSV data exports. (Q1)
- Add custom data-export creation page. (TBD)
- Provide bulk geographic data ahead of 2021 redistricting. (TBD)
- Documentation updates (Q1)
- New Contributor Support (Q1-Q2)
- API User Dashboard (Q2-Q3)
Recent Major Work
To give a sense of recent priorities, here are major milestones from the past few years:
- Restoration of Historical Legislator Data - Q4 2019
- Full Text Search - Q4 2019
- 2019 Legislative Session Updates - Q1 2019
- OpenStates.org 2019 rewrite - Q1 2019
- OpenStates GraphQL API - Q4 2018
- Scraper Overhaul - Throughout much of 2017 we reworked our scrapers to be more resilient and to use an updated tech stack, replacing the one that powered the site from 2011-2016.