1usagov

More fun with 1.usa.gov data

I took another look through the 1.usa.gov data, this time to see if there is a difference in the distribution of browsers between the different top-level domains (nasa.gov, fbi.gov, weather.gov, etc.).

First let’s take a look at the overall browser usage for the data that I’ve collected.

You can see that Internet Explorer is the most popular, followed by a near tie between Firefox, Chrome and iOS devices. This is very biased, considering that the actual distribution of browsers according to wikipedia looks like this:

Those mobile browsers include both the iOS and Android values from my graph.  According to bitly, 22% of their links come from twitter or facebook, and since those sites are so often viewed on mobile devices, it makes sense that mobile browsers are over-represented. It also appears that Internet Explorer users are very under represented.

Since 47% of all of the clicks in my dataset point to nasa.gov, the distribution of browsers those links is of interest as well.  Here’s what visitors to nasa.gov are using:

At the 1.usa.gov hackathon, I showed that people outside of America are primarily interested in nasa, where Americans are interested in a broader range of government websites. Since the market share for IE is much lower in Europe than in America, that partially explains why chrome and firefox are more popular than IE on nasa.gov links and less so on other government websites.

Let’s see how that compares to the next 11 most popular websites (neglecting shrewsbury-ma.gov).

This isn’t really all that informative, other than to give a sense of just how popular nasa is compared to the other sites. Here’s that same plot, normalized to show the percentage of clicks for each site rather than the total count:

It’s interesting to see that the usda, fda, and noaa websites have very similar distributions. It sort of makes sense that the same people will visit usda and fda websites, and I noticed at the hackathon that noaa is most popular in the Tornado Alley area. My next step is to mash the browser information with geographic data and see what happens.

Projects Created at the 1.USA.gov Hack Day

Participants working at the 1.USA.gov Hack Day in San Diego.

A week ago, we held the first 1.USA.gov Hack Day, a nationwide event organized to encourage people to explore the data created by our URL shortening service 1.USA.gov.

Hack day events took place in Washington, D.C., New York City, San Francisco, and San Diego. Over 120 people attended the events and explored ways to use 1.USA.gov data to help people find useful and interesting government information.

1.USA.gov automatically creates .gov URLs whenever you use bitly to shorten a URL that ends in .gov or .mil. We created this service to make it easy for people to know when a short URL will lead to official, and trustworthy, government information.

Data is created every time someone clicks on a 1.USA.gov link, which happens about 56,000 times each day. Together, these clicks show what government information people are sharing with their friends and networks. No one has ever had such a broad view of how government information is viewed and shared online.

Here are some examples of what Hack Day participants built with data from 1.USA.gov:

Find government links that are popular near you

Robert, a consultant and professor from San Diego State University, built a tool that lets you see which links were most popular in the past 24 hours near your city or within your country. Try it out and see what’s popular near you.

See where NASA is most popular

Adam Laiacano, an engineer who lives in Brooklyn, NY, analyzed 1.USA.gov data and found that 42% of all clicks on 1.USA.gov links go to NASA websites. He created a map that shows that people in Europe are more likely to only click on NASA links, while people in the United States click on links from a wider variety of government links. See Adam’s map on his blog.

Watch as government links are clicked all over the world

Helmut Hissen, a software engineer, made this animation that shows clicks on 1.USA.gov links from June 2 through July 14:

In the video, red flashes represent clicks from non-mobile devices, and green flashes represent clicks from mobile devices. Note that the final NASA Shuttle launch occurred on July 8. You can see a dramatic increase in activity at the 1:24 mark.

See which links are most popular right now

Barg Upender and Adam, software engineers in Washington, D.C., created a site called PopGov.us that shows which government links are popular in real time.

Create your own hacks

If you are interested in working with 1.USA.gov data, you can find everything you need to know, including links to code from the Hack Day and a full list of projects on the USA.gov Developer Resources page.

If you want to share your creation with us, leave a comment on this post or tweet about it using the hashtag #1USAgov.

Here’s one of the plots I made at the 1.usa.gov hackathon tonight.  It’s the ratio, by location, of (percentage of clicks that go to nasa.gov) / (global percentage of clicks to nasa).  42% of all *.gov clicks go to nasa, and you can see that people in Europe are almost exclusively interested in NASA, whereas people in the States are interested in other .gov websites.