You can count the team behind on one hand, but the site is a rare example of a government tech project that works.

Earlier this week, program director Marion Royal announced some tweaks to the site to make it easier to use on web and mobile. initially launched in May 2009 with just over 40 data-sets, but it now contains over 100,000.

Marion Royal and Hyon Kim from's development team

Above: Marion Royal (left) and Hyon Kim from

Image Credit: was a passion project of Federal Information Officer Vivek Kundra, who announced the creation of the website in his first days in the Obama Administration.

In a March 2009 conference call, Kundra explained how the site would “democratize data and … help us think through how we address some of the toughest problems in the public sector.”’s data-sets are easy to search, and they are available to download to all. The administration founded the site with the values of openness and transparency in mind. In the early years,’s team was primarily focused on compiling information; now it concentrates on making this data more accessible.

Similarly to a handful of the state-run health insurance exchanges, runs on WordPress and other open-source platforms. It was initially built on Drupal.

According to Peter Slutsky, a director of platform services at WordPress parent company Automattic, is not a paying client of the WordPress VIP platform. However, Slutsky is passionate about the project, and has been informally advising for the past six months.

“Our goal is to advance the call for open-source and WordPress in government,” said Slutsky, who added that cofounder and new chief executive Matt Mullenweg is on board with these efforts.

Slutsky hopes that continues to serve as a useful resource for journalists, policy-makers, teachers, and entrepreneurs.

An update has been in the works since May. made a commitment to release a slew of new services, including improved data visualization, mapping tools, and API access for developers.

Since it launched,’s team has reached out to entrepreneurs building civic applications. The site lists over 35 apps that developers made using data-sets. Some of the best known of the bunch include Red Cross’s Hurricane app, which gives people real-time information about natural disasters, and SF Way, which contains information about things to do in San Francisco.

In a phone interview with Slusky, I made a comparison between, which is simple to use, and the poorly designed (but steadily improving) While slew of federal contractors built the Affordable Care Act’s main site, a team of in-house programmers created, with support from the Presidential Innovation Fellows.

“This is one of the key reasons that it worked so flawlessly,” said Slutsky. “We rarely hear about the quality of the developers and designers employed by the federal government.”

The site asks developers for their help fixing any bugs and improving the site. Developer may find updates to the infrastructure on GitHub.

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