Hi! I’m Ben. I’m a Virginian, born and raised on the south side of Hampton Roads. I also spent a number of years in southwest Virginia, both during and after earning my degree in Computer Engineering from Virginia Tech.
Years ago, I began volunteering my tech skills with Code for Hampton Roads. I helped build apps to track public buses in real time and to make restaurant health inspection reports more accessible. Then I met a journalist who asked if I could make it easier to search the state’s court case information website, and down the rabbit hole I went.
A couple years and many nights and weekends later, I’ve built a scraper that collects information on criminal and civil cases in Virginia’s circuit and district courts from the state’s websites. I make all the data available, for free, at VirginiaCourtData.org. I’ve been thrilled to hear from journalists, academic researchers, and non-profits across the country that these data have made their work possible.
I hope to use this space to post about data collection efforts, projects that use the data, and even some of my own data analysis.