Saturday, April 11, 2015

DHMN Civic Hackathon/Appleton 2015: Register TODAY!!

[Update: to read about what happened on June 6 at the civic hackathon, go to

What & When -- The Distributed Hacker/Maker Network (DHMN) and the city of Appleton are sponsoring a civic hackathon in Appleton on June 6, 2015.

The date of this (first, I think) northeast Wisconsin civic hackathon was chosen to align with the National Day of Civic Hacking which is supported by NASA, Code for America, the White House and many other organizations.

Hackathon Agenda -- see "DHMN Civic Hackathon/Appleton 2015: Agenda" for details of the day.

Who -- Anyone can participate; you don’t have to be an expert in technology, you just have to care about your neighborhood and community. A future post on this blog will talk more about who should consider participating in this event, but we want the event to include both programmers and
non-programmers. It would be great to have coders who have different skill areas like mobile apps, data scraping, databases, API utilization, responsive design, webdev, etc. We also need GIS people, designers, content writers, civic activists, citizen scientists, videographers, and, in general, people who help make the whole civic hacking experience more interesting and engaging. Young people are encouraged to participate too, although middle school and younger need to bring along an adult. (You can teach those adults how to hack!)

Where -- [Updated on May 16, 2015]
In early May, a decision was made to hold the DHMN Civic Hackathon/Appleton 2015 at Lawrence University in the Esch Hurvis Room of the Warch Campus Center. The address for the Warch Campus Center is 711 E. Boldt Way, Appleton, WI, 54911. The Esch Hurvis Room can accommodate up to 100 civic hackers and was the only available venue for June 6 that could hold 100 hackers. The initial venue for a smaller group was going to be the Appleton Makerspace, which could only take up to 30 civic hackers. If up to 30 people want to continue working on civic hacks when it's time for Lawrence University to kick us out of the Esch Hurvis Room, we may head over to the Appleton Makerspace.

For future civic hacking events, we'll work on identifying NE Wisconsin venues that can hold a large number of civic hackers and can provide the Internet access many of them will need, along with other details, like bathrooms, good workspaces, chairs and tables, electrical outlets and all the other details relevant to unconferences or other participant-driven events like a civic hackathon. Reaching out to the region's organizations to build that database of potential venues for hack events does two things. First, it makes it easy to quickly pin down a venue for future events. Second, it helps spread the word about civic hacking and helps recruit future civic hackers and future event sponsors.

Why -- As Code for America puts it, we are doing this civic hackathon "to improve our communities and the governments that serve them."

The focus for the "DHMN Civic Hackathon/Appleton 2015" is to work with publicly available data to make Appleton a better place to live. We hope this is the first of many civic hackathons in northeast Wisconsin, and we want to build a strong community of civic hackers in our region who want to make their city, county, state or nation a better place to live. People from De Pere and a few other cities in northeast Wisconsin have said they'd like to do civic hackathons. The De Pere coders said they'll participate in the Appleton civic hackathon to get some ideas for holding a De Pere civic hackathon. Interested people from Fox Valley cities, from Green Bay, Sturgeon Bay, Marinette, Neenah, Fond du Lac, Manitowoc, Sheboygan and other fine communities are welcome to join the civic hackers from De Pere in Appleton on June 6.

DHMN will be happy to help the De Pere people and other area civic hackers organize their hackathon. To help connect our region's civic hackers, it might be helpful to have one central website with information about civic hacking in this area. As a starting point, the DHMN Civic Hacks website will have information about northeast Wisconsin civic hackathons and about civic hacking in general.

If you want improve Appleton, or if you want to do a civic hackathon or some other type of civic hacking activity in your northeast Wisconsin community, consider participating in the DHMN Civic Hackathon/Appleton 2015 to meet other civic hackers, to learn more about civic hacking and to have some fun!

Register today (it's FREE!!!) on Eventbrite. There's a Registration page on the DHMN Civic Hacks website (see tab at the top of this page). And reserve June 6 on your schedule for the DHMN Civic Hackathon/Appleton 2015.


1 comment:

  1. What a great post. This is something that should be done in our community. It is a great way to get people to come together and share ideas and knowledge. This inspired me to organize something very similar in my community. My wife is helping me out with the logistics but can not wait to see how it turns out.

    Lucius Cambell @ Skild