Cool tool: meet GovLoop's per diem calculator

Tuesday - 9/28/2010, 10:41am EDT

Steve Ressler, founder, GovLoop

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By Suzanne Kubota
Senior Internet Editor
FederalNewsRadio.com

When travelling for business or pleasure, the questions usually remain the same: where should I stay, where should I eat, what's fun to do and who do I know in the area.

GovLoop has slapped some datasets together and mashed them all up into one big, useful, per diem calculator to answer those questions.

President and founder of GovLoop, Steve Ressler, told Federal News Radio the tool is much more than just a per diem calculator. He said he travelled a lot as a fed, and "the first thing I'd always want to know is what are the best hotels I could stay at in the city under my per diem rate, what are the best restaurants, and what are the things to do in the city?"

These questions meant he had to go to the GSA website to find out the per diem, then surf over to another site for hotel information, then to yet another for restaurant advice, and so on.

Now all that information is in one spot, especially for federal employees.

"We used GSA data. We used Yelp, which is a place where you can submit reviews, and we used another dataset called Eventful, which lists great events in the city, and we've smashed it all together and put an easy interface on it. So you just type in the city or name and 'magic happens' as my mom says."

So once a traveller knows the destination, the hotel, restaurants, and events are a click away. The information can be saved as a pdf, printed out, and/or emailed. Ressler said they're currently working on an iPhone application of the tool.

The GovLoop tool has the added option of displaying other GovLoop members in that city.

Ressler said they plan to add more reviews of where to stay, eat, play, and who's there to play with.

"This is just another example," said Ressler, "of how government data can be used and manipulated in different ways, real quickly, to make government better. So I hope there's a lot more of these going on. I'm sure there will be, both inside government and outside."