DOL Transparency on the Go

Filed in Open Government, Web Apps by on January 10, 2012 35 Comments

Making federal government data more user-friendly and accessible to the public gives citizens an opportunity to ensure government accountability and encourages engagement and influence in the decision-making process. has been a tremendous asset in accomplishing this goal, allowing anyone  to download government datasets, large and small, However, while experts on the data can extract a wealth of information and publish their findings for everyone else to consume, the same large datasets can pose a particular challenge for developers of mobile applications. 

Cost to Users of Including Whole Datasets in Apps

Most cell phone companies impose some sort of limit on their customers’ data usage.  Using one provider as an example, the basic data plan has a limit of 200 megabytes (MB) per month.  Once this limit is exceeded, the user can face additional charges.  Another smartphone platform limits over-the-air app downloads to 20 MB to protect the users’ data caps.

The Department of Labor has many datasets published on that, if included in a mobile app, would consume at least a half of a typical smartphone user’s monthly data limit. For example, the Workforce Investment Act Net Impact Evaluation Dataset measures in at a hefty 321 MB!

One solution was to create an application programming interface (API) that would allow developers of web or mobile apps to download only the data that their app needs when it is needed.  Rather than include the entire dataset, the app sends a request to DOL’s API asking for a much smaller subset of that data.  The response is  typically much smaller than an average webpage.  While not a replacement for the datasets published to, the API provides instant, light-weight, and easy to access data for developers of web and mobile apps. 

Initially launched with just three datasets, today APIs on provide access to 19 datasets containing 80 individual tables.  One of the visions of our API effort is to ensure all of the department’s publicly available data is also available through the API, so expect the numbers to continue to grow.

DOL was not the first federal department or agency to make an API available to developers, but we were the first to provide software development kits (SDKs) and sample code to help developers make better use of our API.  Our SDKs contain code that they can include in apps that take care of the connection to the API as well as making requests and retrieving data.  This particular innovation lowers the barrier to entry, allowing someone with a great idea and basic programming skills to start developing apps with DOL data.

Our most recent innovation is our “API Sampler,” which allows developers to get a sample of what is returned by the API for testing and validation purposes.  Links to the sampler are on the main page of as well as on each dataset’s page.

More innovations, enhancements, and datasets are in the works, so if you’re an app developer, keep your eye on DOL’s developer community website.

The author, Michael Pulsifer is the Lead IT Specialist for the Division of Enterprise Communications.

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Comments (35)

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  1. Gregg says:

    Hey how can i create an APP to warn potential OSHA whistleblower’s about how poor there 11(c) whistleblower protection program is?
    Can DOL help me with that?
    Can i make money with that APP Ms Solis?

    ( GOT MERIT ?)

  2. Gregg says:

    Ms Solis i have a great title for this new 11(c) whistleblower APP,
    Hear no Evil/See no Evil/Speak no Evil, OSHA 11(c) Whistleblower’s APP.
    What do you think? Well we know the Deepwater horizion and upper branch mine workers knew right well about that phrase.You own investigations in those disasters proved that . Could that be the root cause of those disaster’s Ms Solis because the way most people see it that these workers who were afraid to speak up could have prevented these disasters.They are the front line of defense right? So could my new APP help warn them to keep quiet about safety?You bet!.
    Just look at how my employer sent out that five ton lift just minuites after i locked it out unsafe with complete indisputible company documentation they knowingly commited that act given to OSHA! And still DOL attacked us! Yea i think this APP would help other potential OSHA whistleblowers to keep there mouth shut and not lose there careers. Can you tell us were wrong Ms Solis? I don’t think so.

    ( GOT MERIT ? )

  3. Gregg says:

    OH ,I forgot we could also put all the evidence of how this employer knowingly sent out unsafe that scissor lift on that APP,
    Like the originl notes on the problem in my log book that was given to OSHA,We could show the original company work order numbers opened by management for this safety issuie to order the antirotation kit,We could provide copys of the company’s actual check for rent document that shows how this machine went out knowingly unsafe,We could show the original company parts order slips showing the parts were ordered by the company,We could show the parts requisition sheets showing the ordered antirotation brackets,We could show the picture of the lock out tag hanging on this scissor lift like it is suppose to,The lock out tag shows my company I.D number ,date,problem with the lift.All this above evidence has to be conducted by company management only.All this was given to OSHA!
    This is good stuff for an APP,Ms Solis right?

    (GOT MERIT ?)

  4. Gregg says:

    Should i put what transpired at that meeting on the APP Ms Solis?
    Like when i sat down with the area director OSHA Philadelphia and another OSHA investigator i presented the evidence i had on the unsafe equipment that they were knowingly renting out to the public.With the evidence that showed that five ton JLG lift that i had just locked out unsafe with a major steering problem and the 14 time lined phone calls to JLG Asking if that machine was safe for rent in that condition.(Every time was told no)
    We could post the answer to my question to the area director OSHA philadelphia if someone were injured or killed on these machines and you found the machine in the condition like my company evidence shows what would happen? The area director OSHA Philadelphia stated “They would be out of buisness! They both stated” Gregg you really seem to know your stuff about this equipment”. I stated I have over 30 years in it”. At this time they informed me that the five ton JLG lift had been sent into a refinery in Marcushook,PA and they were going in there on other buisness and were going to inspect this lift. I requested that i go with them so i could show what was wrong and that the employer knows now so they might lower the hydrualic pressure to keep the steering cylinder in to bluff you guys.I would be able to tell because you lose static steering but you would’nt know that. But i was denied they said i did’nt have clearance for refineries. I responded with ,Yes i do i have my I.D card right here and i can drive you down there right now my truck is out front” But of course they came up with another excuse for me not to go so i knew something is going on here.
    This would be good information to put on an APP for any one thinking about becoming a Whistleblower with OSHA!

    (GOT MERIT ?)

  5. Gregg says:

    OH,you know what else Ms Solis,On that APP we could put that accident that took place in Philadelphia on 10/13/09 six months after that meeting.Remember it involved a JLG lift that had flipped over killing the operator and it involved steering on that JLG lift.That is what i had locked out that five ton JLG lift unsafe and my employer sent out knowing in that condition in a refinery and gambling with peoples lives! This would be good info for my DOL APP for someone who lost a son,father,brother,husband, on one of these machines would want to know how OSHA was warned of the problem and did little to nothing.
    Like how i called the second investigator in that meeting with the area director who got the case of that accident on 10/13/09.See i called him to remind him of the JLG service bullitin that they had on these lifts where you lose control of the steering while operating it. Well let me tell you what happened when he called back ,He became beligerent and hung up on me. What do you think Ms Solis ,Carma! Think i’m wrong now? I think the American people would like to know about this,Right?
    Can you imagine if that Five ton JLG lift that i locked out unsafe flipped over in that refinery Ms Solis? DISASTER!!

    (GOT MERIT ?)

  6. Gregg says:

    Ms Solis,Could we put info like this on my new APP at DOL?
    My former employer would lend lifts to the White House for public relations i guess,so do you think this could have contributed to the way DOL handled our indisputible whistleblower retaliation for protected activity? NOOOOOOOOO…

    (GOT MERIT ?)

  7. Gregg says:

    Ms Solis should we put on this whistleblower APP about how only management at my former could open workorders for machines they needed to go out on rent? See that shows how my employer knew the conditition of those unsafe machines going out on rent due to only management could open these workers and is indisputible proof of what they knew.
    WE the mechanics were not allowed to open workorders “NEVER” “ZERO” “NATA””NONE” this was the entire time working there! What do you think Ms Solis (GOT MERIT ?)

  8. Playhouses says:

    Your multi-poster above needs to take a step back. When I was growing up on a farm, we didn’t have warning labels on our tractors. There were no placards warning us to climb up one step at a time, or to sit in the seat, or don’t get off the tractor while it was rolling along, or to be careful. Back then we had some common sense and didn’t rely on false hope of every danger being eliminated. With respect to OSHA, owning a business gives another perspective.
    Back back to the point of this article. Good plan to spend some well placed time with respect to smart phone applications. Over the next five years the landscape will continue to shift from laptop/desktop to mobile computing.

  9. Gregg says:

    Ms Solis or Dr Michaels i just read the DOL newsletter for 1/20/12 so could you please explain to me about the Airtran pilot whistleblower had the same experence in retaliation where airtran conducted an ivestigative meeting about why this piolot had a spike in reporting safety issuies. Airtran claimed the pilot did not satisfactorily answer why the spike in complaints and then removed from flight status.Dol sided in this pilots favor.
    So how is it i went through the same kind of meeting and was fired with no protection with DOL? When my employer asked for me to provide the evidence that i had at my home this employer had a coworker drive me home to retrieve this evidence.While at home i emeidetly contacted DOL and advised them of what was going on.DOL 11(c) advised me not to return with the evidence and not to say anything else at the meeting.I complied with DOL advise.When i did what DOL stated this was met with anger by company management.
    Was this the correct way of handling this by DOL Ms Solis?
    So how come i haven’t recived justice Ms Solis?
    I talked to family member who is a lawyer at a christmas party last month and told him of my case and about this incident above and his reply ” That was some realy lousy advise,you should have presented it” .What kind of people are in this 11(c) Ms Solis?
    Are these trained professionals?

    (GOT MERIT ?)

  10. Gregg says:

    Can i appeal my case with ALJ Ms Solis or Dr Michaels?
    Could you please advise me on ALJ Ms Solis or Dr Michaels?

  11. Gregg says:

    Also Dr Michaels,How is it you found reasonable cause in that Airtran case and not “our” case?
    Dr Michaels whe my employer sent that five ton lift out on rent just minuites after locking it out unsafe and complete indisputible company documentation given to DOL this employer gambled with peoples lives should have blown them right out of the water!!!
    Dou you comprehend this near disaster Dr Michaels?
    Do you think that steering problem that i locked out that lift for is of vital importance Dr Michaels?
    Can you explain to the american people the diffrence Dr Michaels?
    That lift was in a refinery Dr Michaels!!!!!!
    If i were charged with commiting that act Dr Michaels ,you and DOL would have never heard from me again!!!!!!!!!!
    What is going on here Dr Michaels???????????


  12. Gregg says:

    Retaliating against a pilot for reporting mechanical malfunctions is not consistent with a company that values the safety of its workers and customers,
    “Dr David Michaels”

    Sounds Just like my former employer who was all about safety Dr Michaels.
    Dr Michaels could you tell me when this “protection” in OSHA’s 11(c) whistleblower protection program comes into play?

    (GOT MERIT ?)

  13. Gregg says:

    You do understand Dr Michaels that if i had missed that steering problem during my safety inspection of that JLG 3969 scissor lift i would have been FIRED!!!!!
    But i didn’t and i locked it out UNSAFE !!!!!!!! THIS WAS COMMON SENSE !!!!
    Then my employer turns around after ordering it locked out and within minutes ordered it released with absolutely no repairs performed!!!!

    (GOT MERIT ?)

  14. OSHA recently approved new online outreach trainers, leaving some past providers out in the cold. Is there any info available so we can see why some providers were selected and some were not? Just curious how they each graded out, why some made the cut while others did not. Thank you,

  15. Gregg says:

    Let me explain it another way to you Dr Michaels about how my employer sent out that JLG 3969 scissor lift knowingly unsafe,
    After i hung the lockout tag on the entrance to the operation platform on that JLG 3969 scissor lift my employer removed it and hung what is called a green tag on it right in front of me!!!!!!
    Do you understand why its called a green tag Dr Michaels? Green means go .its o.k to rent,Again no repairs performed on it at all!!!!
    The steering cylinder was already 90 percent out of its retaining channel Dr Michaels!!!!

    What do you think Dr Michaels? (GOT MERIT ?)

  16. Gregg says:

    Anothe point of how this employer knew that JLG 3969 scissor lift was unsafe Dr Michaels.
    When “company management” directed me to bring up and inspect a JLG 3969 scissor lift i was told there were four JLG 3969 scissor lifts in the yard and was told to pick one. This is what i did and it turned out Dr Michaels all four had the same problem with the steering cylinde coming out of the retaining channel. Remember Dr Michaels that JLG had a recall (aka service bullitin) out on this problem with an upgrade kit to correct this problem where you lose control of the steering when operating the machine!!!!
    The company ordered all four locked unsafe out Dr Michaels!!!
    The company opened all four workorders Dr Michaels!!!!
    The company ordered the antirotation kits Dr Michaels!!!!
    Then the company turned around and released for rent these machines Dr Michaels!!!

    (GOT MERIT ?)

  17. Gregg says:

    Dr Michaels on the day i was terminated for protected activity your people told me not to return with any of my evidence because as your investigator put it “If you bring that in there ,they won’t let you leave with it i guarantee it,When you go back in there don’t say anything ,O.K”. Well Dr Michaels was this the correct way to handling this? Is this what the American people are paying for with our tax dollars,”incompetence”?
    So how come DOL could see retaliation in that Airtran pilot case where Airtran claimed the pilot didn’t answer there questions?
    Whats going on here Dr Michaels?


  18. Gregg says:

    Another thing Dr Michaels about that JLG 3969 scissor lift that my employer sent out on rent unsafe.
    They sent it out on the day i was terminated in that meeting where your people told me not to provide any documentation and to keep quiet!!
    What do you think Dr Michaels?
    I sat there and just stared at the management that just sent out that JLG 3969 scissor lift!!
    Do you comprehend this Dr Michaels,It was gone and out on rent and there were three more sitting just a few yards away that would have blown them right out of the water!!!!!
    How do you think this would have played out Dr Michaels if i stood up in that meeting and walked everyone out to those three remaining JLG 3969 machines and showed them whats going on????
    There would have been no way in hell of arguing with that for it would have proven with out a doubt who was risking peoples lives Dr Michaels!!!
    Can i get a little bit of “reasonable cause” here Dr Michaels???
    Can the American people get some answers here Dr Michaels?
    Do you think DOL will help me Dr Michaels????

    ( GOT MERIT ?)

  19. Gregg says:

    Let me understand another thing Dr Michaels,This Airtran pilot was just one person who was involved in this case of retaliation for protected activity?
    Would’nt it have raised a red flag when those other coworkes came forward over a year after i was fired for protected activity and provided more evidence to OSHA how i was retaliated against?
    Any chance you or anyone at DOL could answer these questions?

    ( GOT MERIT ?)

  20. Gregg says:

    Ms Solis i just want to share a story,My son who is in the U.S NAVY called me last saturday and told me he was all pcked up for his transfer to his new post at gitmo,Cuba,.He was stationed in Naples,Italy for three years where i could tell he wished we were able to have visted him.But you know why that wasn’t possible Ms Solis.So i told my wife about the phone call last night and she became little teary eyed for she really wanted to go there and visit him and she is of Italian decent.But i told my son that we’ll really try to visit you in Cuba.He also told me he was up for Salior of the year in Naples Ms Solis.But the biggest thing in my eyes was how Vise President Biden offered to conduct his reinlistment ceramony.The picture of the vise president and my son is hanging in my office right above me and i will cherish it forever.
    I guess your wondering why i’m posting this, but you see Ms Solis this would show whistleblowers what they will go through if they step forward and think there is protection.I hope you understand Ms Solis

  21. Gregg says:

    Well Ms Solis,The president in last night’s speech stated that everyone has a fair shot.
    Where is our fair shot at our day in court Ms Solis?
    We were part of the middle class before our whistleblower case.
    But the real kicker is how the president stated last night “Everyone plays by the same rules “. Where do i begin with that statement Ms Solis? This guy is your boss right?
    Please tell us how our former employer played by the rules ???
    Our evidence that “WE” provided OSHA is indisputible Ms Solis that they were not playing by the rules!!!! This was the employer’s own documentation showing they were not playing by the rules!!!!!!
    Where is the fairness Ms Solis?

    ( GOT MERIT ?)

  22. Gregg says:

    Another thing the president stated last night Ms Solis,
    “The american dream is under siege”
    When the second coworker that blew the whistle on safety issuies came to my home to discuss this whistleblower case looked around at my home and said “Gregg this is all i wanted for me and my family, A nice home for my kids”
    He was renting his whole life and is an ex-con where his wife left him after he lost his job for blowing the whistle.She told him “you should have kept your mouth shut!”
    Don’t you have a story in this blog section Ms Solis where DOL is helping ex-cons?
    Because it Sounds like it’s working well!
    This is really getting old Ms Solis.
    Let’s not forget Ms Solis this guy contacted me 15 months after i was terminated for protected activity and he was under the impression my whistleblower case was closed at this time.Remember Ms Solis this employer went out and recruited this guy.

    ( GOT MERIT ? )

  23. Gregg says:

    How about this Dr Michaels in regards to that JLG 3969 scissorlift that my employer knowingly sent out on rent unsafe.See Dr Michaels when i was told to bring up and inspect for rent this lift i found the steering cylinder 90 % out of its retaining channel.This was a problem i had never seen before!.The branch manager told me to look for the retaing brackets on the steering axle for they might have came loose and fell off.So i checked as directed and informed management that there were no brackets and i don’t see any mounting holes. Thats because Dr Michaels these scissor lifts were never equiped with these antirotation brackets.Thats obvious due to the service bullitin to install the upgrade kit you need to remove the complete steering cylinder to drill new holes in the steering axle in order to mount these new brackets!! Dr Michaels.
    How in the hell can you argue with that!!
    These lifts went out on rent without being repaired!!!!
    Who is playing by the rules Dr Michaels????????
    Is steering of vital importance Dr Michaels?????

    ( GOT MERIT ?)

  24. Gregg says:

    Let me know Dr Michaels if you would like a copy of that JLG service bullitin for the instalation of the antirotation kit.
    I have several from the 14 diffrent timelined phone calls to JLG tech support on this steering problem where i was told everytime “No it can not go out on rent like that ,it’s not safe”.They faxed the same service bullitin to me with there names,times,dates, on the cover sheets.
    Please feel free to call me if you would like one Dr Michaels?
    Not that i expect you to, for what do you care your set for life,your a federal employee.

    ( GOT MERIT ? )

  25. Gregg says:

    After i Protested against that JLG 3969 scissor lift going out on rent in that unsafe condition this became a criminal act Ms Solis / Dr Michaels.
    JLG stated ” The truck driver loading it was in danger,let alone be in a refinery ”
    With my former employer allowed to walk away with no charges how can DOL possibly fine any other company for safety violations?
    Can you possibly explain this to the American people Ms Solis or Dr Michaels?

    ( GOT MERIT ? )

  26. Gregg says:

    I hope you understand Ms Solis what this nightmare has done to me mentally.
    If that JLG 3969 going out on rent unsafe wasn’t bad enough,then on top of that how DOL treated us!
    What does this tell others that uncover safety issuies at there place of employment?

  27. Gregg says:

    What about the only receptionist at our branch that talked to DOL and another government agency Dr Michaels? Remember she told DOL “gregg was trying to make things right” She also told DOL that this employer knew i was the one who contacted OSHA.Remember Dr Michaels they claimed in writeing they didn’t know it was me!
    She also stated that she was to pull the records on the pennsylvania convention center after i contacted OSHA and was told not to talk to me about it.
    She was the only girl at our branch Dr Michaels.
    She even complained to upper management about what was going on for she heard alot of what was going on Dr Michaels!! and was fired for it!!!!!!!

    ( GOT MERIT ? )

  28. Gregg says:

    Dr Michaels,could you tell us Americans how much those new OSHA 11(c) whistleblower protection program investigators cost us since there hire?
    I’m sure the American people would like to know after all this program was investigated by two government agencies and both blasted it stating that it does not work,Right?
    I’m sure the millions of unemployed Americans would like to know what this is about.

    Why haven’t there been any new stories posted lately?

    ( GOT MERIT ? )

  29. Gregg says:

    Dr Michaels,What about the Q.T.A code that was noted in my log books?
    Remember Dr Michaels this stood for “Quick Turn Around”.
    This was only noted on the companys white sheet witch is an internal document that the customer never recives or views.
    Sound like a second set of books Dr Michaels.
    I witnessed some mechanics safety inspect some machines right on the trucks and not even pulled off.
    Why don’t you contact some of these macine manufacturers and ask if there is a Quick Turn Around in there service manuels Dr Michaels?
    I’ll tell you what Dr Michaels save the dime,If there were such a code of Q.T.A the company would have noted it on the check for rent document!!!!
    This was madness Dr Michaels!!!!!


  30. Gregg says:

    The title to this article is “DOL Transparecy on the go ” Like in as “Whistleblower protection is transparent?” It’s so weak it’s transparent?” Were not real sure?
    If there were transparency Dr Michaels you and Ms Solis would answers my questions here on the good o’l DOL work in progress blog,right?
    I could use some more of your stories posted soon i’m getting backed up here on this story about false transparency!
    Well i’ll start posting my log book records from my employer’s unsafe forklift fleet at the Pennsylvania convention center next week.The same ones that i provided DOL.

    ( GOT MERIT ?)

  31. Gregg says:

    WOW thats quick service! I just asked for how much this Whistleblower program costs in my number 32 comment above! and bam its here on the 31st!
    Can DOL forward all my comments on this blog site to congressman George Miller and Lyn Wolsey?

    ( GOT MERIT ?)

  32. Gregg says:

    The cost of this Employer (aka) 11(c) Whistleblower protection program in 2011 so far as of 9 months was 12.2 million. This is the program your own DOL investigator general has stated has not worked for years,right Ms Solis?
    I know your aware of this Dr Michaels,right?
    So let me understand this ,the government accountabilty office has also investigated this 11(c) program with the same results as your investigator general!!
    Maybe you need to throw more millions at this program Ms Solis,that would make scence right?
    ( GOT MERIT ?)

  33. Gregg says:

    It also states in this cost report that DOL is actively exploring the idea of restructuring this whistleblower protection program.
    Dr Michaels you stated this back in 2009! So how many whistleblowers are being led to slaughter by DOL untill this suposed restructuring takes place?
    If it ever takes place,Right Dr Michaels?
    Can somone at DOL answer my questions?

    ( GOT MERIT ?)

  34. Through transparency, the government could gain back the trust of the public. I just hope it’s true transparency, not just another fake public information.

  35. Socks says:

    I was wondering if Gregg must have got his questions answered. Hope less than 10% of his points are accurate. If not, we should look at this.

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