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Councilmatic! Build Status

Philly City Council Legislative Subscription Service.

Contact Us

  • Join the mailing list at
  • Find us on in the #councilmatic room


First check out the project code.

$ git clone git://

To work on your own instance of Councilmatic, you should first get Python installed. Follow the instructions for doing so on your platform.

In addition, we recommend setting up a virtual environment for working with any project, so that you can manage your project-specific dependencies.

$ cd councilmatic
$ virtualenv .env --no-site-packages
$ source .env/bin/activate

Next, install the requirements for Councilmatic (we recommend working in a virtual environment, but it’s not strictly necessary).

$ pip install -r requirements.txt

Non-Python requirements include:

  • pdftotext and pdftohtml (use apt-get install poppler-utils on Ubuntu)

Legislation source

Copy the file councilmatic/ to councilmatic/ Fill in the LEGISLATION setting in this file. By default, it is set up to scrape from Philadelphia’s legislation system.


Create a database for Councilmatic. Typically this is done like:

createdb -T template_postgis councilmatic

where template_postgis is the name of your PostGIS database template. If you do not yet have one, you can find instructions for getting your system ready for Django and PostGIS online. For example, here are instructions for Mac, and Ubuntu. For other platforms, and for further instructions, the GeoDjango docs are a good place to look.

NOTE that PostGIS 2.0 is not compatible with Django 1.4. As Councilmatic is currently not set up to run on Django 1.5, you should install PostGIS 1.5

Set up the project database and populate it with city council data (when the syncdb command prompts you to create an administrative user, go ahead and do so). There is a lot of data to be loaded, so downloading it all may take a while.

$ cd councilmatic
$ python syncdb # Create admin account when prompted.
$ python migrate
$ python loadlegfiles
$ python rebuild_index # For searches. Say yes when prompted.
$ python collectstatic # For jss and css. Say yes when prompted.

Development server

Finally, to run the server:

$ python runserver

Now, check that everything is working by browsing to http://localhost:8000/. Now browse to http://localhost:8000/admin and enter the admin username and password you supplied and you should have access to all of the legislative files!

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