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$6,366 pledged of $45,000 goal
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By Sunlight Foundation
$6,366 pledged of $45,000 goal
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About this project

Learn more about your surroundings with Sitegeist

Sitegeist is an app created by the Sunlight Foundation to showcase publicly available information about any area with beautiful visualizations. We launched Sitegeist in 2012, but it's in dire need of an upgrade so you can continue enjoying its simple at-a-glance way to tap into the pulse of your location. 

When we created Sitegeist, we dug up publicly available data and brought thousands of records together to display each fact about your location. The application utilized free APIs such as the U.S. Census, Yelp! and others to showcase the information that is out there. 

While it’s fun to use Sitegeist to learn about your own city, it’s also very helpful when you’re visiting somewhere new, or looking to move. The location-specific information that Sitegeist is known for can be difficult to track down, but is still something users want.

What you would’ve seen on the current Sitegeist:

  • People - You’ll uncover general information about the people in this area. How old are they? How much does the average household make? How much do they donate to political parties? 
  • Housing - How expensive is this area? Do most people rent or buy? Do they walk or drive? 
  • Fun - Want to find out new popular local businesses, local “hometown” events, and nearby movie theaters? 
  • Environment - Knowing today’s weather is important, but so is knowing nearby polluted areas and the record highs and lows. 
  • History - Learn a little bit about the age of housing and number of units in the neighborhood.

Sitegeist is and will continue to be 100% open source

Sunlight is deeply invested in supporting open source software and all of our projects are made available under open licenses. You can find Sitegeist’s source on our GitHub page at https://github.com/sunlightlabs/sitegeist.

Love for Sitegeist: 

Awards:
Webby Honoree - Best Use of GPS or Location Technology
Webby Honoree - Education and Reference
Core77 Design Award - Notable, Interaction
App of the Month: Harvard Law School Library, Champions School of Real Estate
App of the Week: Gizmodo

A sampling of press coverage:
GigaOm: How Sitegeist used great design to make census data cool
The Christian Science Monitor: 20 best iPhone apps to get you started
Business Insider: 11 Apps That Every Political Junkie Should Have On Their Phone 
Digital Trends: Hands On: ‘Sitegeist’ tells you a bunch of random trivia about where you are

So why does it need saving? 

Sunlight received funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to create apps that explored ways to utilize publicly available data in a fun and interactive way that people would use. We worked with IDEO to create Sitegeist and were really surprised (and thrilled!) at how wildly popular it became. It has been downloaded more than 117,000 times since December 2012, and earned several awards for its intuitive design. More importantly, it helped thousands of people understand the power of open data. 

While we love Sitegeist, and we love that all of our tools are free for anyone to use, they aren’t free to create or maintain. 

As a nonprofit we have limited resources and have had to make difficult decisions about allocating our resources. As a result, we’ve had to put Sitegeist, which needs a major overhaul, on the chopping block. 

But there’s hope!

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which generously funded the original version of Sitegeist, is offering us the following grant amounts based on our number of Kickstarter backers:

250 backers = $2,500 - Goal reached!

500 backers = $5,000

1,000 backers = $10,000 (!!)

We’ve already hit 250 backers, which is amazing! If you can help us hit these next goals, it will greatly improve our chances to do great things in the next version of Sitegeist. So please share this Kickstarter and encourage friends to back this project at any level. Every little bit helps, and we need your help to make this possible.

This is where you come in. 

As a loyal fan of Sitegeist (or a potential new fan), you can not only save Sitegeist, but help make it even better than it was before! Here's what we want to do: 

  • Update and expand the data. We’ll switch to the latest census data available in December (currently Sitegeist uses four year old data from 2010), and we’ll add new and update existing data sources. 
  • Rebuild iOS app. A brand new app that fits right in with iOS 8 and incorporates some of our users’ most requested features such as being able to search by address. 
  • Responsive data views. Our data views are built with HTML and CSS. We want to make these fully responsive so Sitegeist will be easier to develop for other screen sizes in the future. 

What about Android?! 

We would like to upgrade the Android app, but our budget and staff constraints limit us to focusing on iOS. While we aren’t able to include development of a brand new Android app in this effort, the existing app will benefit from much of the work we do as a result of this campaign. Specifically, the existing app will:

  • show the updated data, including Census and other sources. 
  • use the new responsive visualization panes. 
  • show any new data sources and visualizations that are on existing panes.

So what will the existing Android app miss out on? Only entirely new data screens and a refreshed UI that matches modern Android design standards. Having feature parity between the apps is incredibly important to us and is something we will be trying to figure out as we work on the new version of Sitegeist. If we meet our initial funding goal, an Android update will be the first stretch goal we consider.

Core Team: 

The original gang that built Sitegeist will be coming back together to work on the upgrade! Introducing:

# Jeremy!
Sunlight’s web developer who is going to wrestle all this complex data into one app.

# Caitlin!
Sunlight’s creative director who will ensure the app is beautiful and intuitive.

# Nicko!
Sunlight’s projects manager who is looking for new data and testing each app build.

Rewards:

At the $50 pledge level: 
Here's what the T-Shirt looks like:

Risks and challenges

Since this is an update to an existing idea, the team is experienced in the process and we are confident that full funding will provide the team with the resources to successfully deliver the project.

The availability and strength of the data sources we’re using are the main point of challenge, but the team expects to adjust as needed, and we'll update our backers of any changes or challenges.

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Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Our everlasting love and gratitude (with a thank-you GIF as proof)! Think of it as what we’d probably charge for the app (if we weren’t a nonprofit).

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    5x love and gratitude and a shout out on the Github page for Sitegeist.

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    39 backers
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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    10x love and gratitude + AWESOME T-SHIRT (shipping only in North America).

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    53 backers
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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    A ticket to TransparencyCamp15 + all previous gifts. http://transparencycamp.org/ (Travel expenses not included)

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Be a data point in the app! Appear in a new section called “Super Sitegeist supporters nearby” + all previous gifts

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    A ticket to the Sitegeist launch/taco party in DC + previous gifts. (Travel expenses not included)

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    Limited 0 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Your logo featured as a sponsor on the Sitegeist website + previous gifts

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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    Your logo with a link featured in the app and on the website + previous gifts including three tickets to the launch/taco party. (Travel expenses not included)

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Funding period

- (30 days)