At its core, the Newport Data Project is just a group of people interested in contributing to the local community with data, technology, and innovative ideas. Since you’re here, you’re already a part of it! Everything in the Project is created and maintained by us, so it will be continually expanding and evolving in whatever direction we want to take it. This document is intended to be an intro guide to the Project - how we do things, what resources we have, and where you can find out more. There are no requirements, so feel free to explore, find what interests you, and contribute!
If you’re just looking to jump right in, here are some quick links to get started:
This is a volunteer Project - we contribute because we want to. In that sense, we do whatever we want on this Project. Maybe you’re looking for some data to try out the latest machine learning toolbox on, or you want to learn how to build a website, or you want to see how much money is budgeted per pothole in the city. All of these are fair game, and there is probably someone else who is interested or can help.
Everyone brings something to the Project. If you’re a front end developer, we probably have a website or app that needs tuned up. If you’re a ship captain who studies urban planning, you can probably point out things the rest of us might not have thought about. If you’re a statistician who wants an excuse to walk around Newport, we are always looking for map data!
The bottom line is you don’t need to be an expert in anything to help out. Even if you are an expert in something, you can try something completely different. Whatever you want!
For large, complicated, or in-depth projects, we may form a project team or working group. Project teams are a little more formal. They develop a plan and work to it, and have a definitive end product. Working groups are similar to teams in that they have a formalized structure, but they may be focused on persistent or long term topics, like maintaining Project documentation, the website, or a tool package.
Our slack workspace is the virtual place where we share ideas and coordinate projects. There are a lot of channels in the workspace covering specific topics, but these are the main ones:
#general - If you have a question about the Project, post it here. It’s also where we post broad announcements, events, or major relevant bits of news.
The Newport Data Project GitHub Organization is where our source code lives. Most of our projects will have a repository in the organization. We use the GitHub issue tracker and project boards to manage our projects, and some projects use GitHub wikis for documentation. You’ll want to sign up for a GitHub account if you don’t already have one.
The data portal is a GitHub organization where we store datasets. Each dataset is a git repository, so it can be downloaded, included in projects, and changes to the data and metadata are tracked.
The Newport Data Project website is the public touchstone of the Project. It is there to tell people what we are about and to showcase work we do. It also acts as a gateway to Project resources so you don’t need to bookmark everything.
Here are a some of the more common tools we use in the Project. Don’t limit yourself to these, but you may want to get familiar with some of them to get up to speed on existing projects.