Today’s not Saturday, but this post is featuring civic hacking in the news anyway. These items are a couple different looks at National Day of Civic Hacking (NDoCH) 2015 events in the US and one general article about government tech and civic apps.
Meetup.com is a primary or secondary online organizing tool for many NDoCH events.
“One of the best things about Meetup is that when people are organized, they’re powerful enough to make a difference...Code For America is responsible for planning the National Day of Civic Hacking. And they’re also one of Meetup’s beloved chapter organizations, using the Meetup platform as one of the ways they organize a network of people dedicated to making government services simple, effective, and easy to use. There are over 50 civic hacking Meetups scheduled – everywhere from Nashville, Tennessee to Wichita, Kansas to Tuscon, Arizona, and of course Silicon Valley and New York City...”
With cash prizes of more than $15,000 and drawing from large region of northern California where there are tens of thousands of coders, the UC Davis civic hackathon attracted about 60 participants.
“A civic hackathon at UC Davis over the weekend that challenged participants to use health-care data from the California state government drew a big crowd of coders and produced apps that might have staying power. Sponsored by the California HealthCare Foundation, the Health 2.0 Developer Challenge brought in participants from Sacramento, the Bay Area and across the state thanks in part to an unusually large pool of cash prizes. Approximately 60 coders turned in a total of 15 apps by the Sunday afternoon deadline. The participants were encouraged to use data sets from the California Health and Human Services Agency’s open data portal….Apptology, a Sacramento-based development company, took home the $10,000 first-place prize for an app intended for use by Sacramento County Women, Infants and Children (WIC) offices...Poli-See came in second place ($5,000) with a Web app to track, discuss and share progress within the Let’s Get Healthy California initiative across 39 key indicators...The California HealthCare Foundation is following up with the winners and other projects that were turned in, and has expressed interest in supporting those apps to develop them further...”
Miami's NDoCH 2015 was sponsored by the Knight Foundation, an organization that supports civic hacking in many ways. Looks like Miami did a version of Xxxxxxx Answers, like Oakland Answers, so I’ll have to take a look at that. This was an article promoting the Miami NDoCH event, so it doesn’t tell how their hackathon went -- will have to check for that over the next couple days.
“Drawing together developers, designers, data geeks, leaders, government folks and idea-makers, Code for Miami has spent the last two years helping pave the way for civic engagement in Miami-Dade County...here are some of the projects we’ve completed just within the last year: GIS Bus Tracking system, Miami Open 211, Miami Wiki, Developed a twitterbot titled Cute Pets to help Miami-Dade County Animal Services send foster pets to great homes, Miami Answers, which sources answers to commonly asked questions about Miami...Code for Miami...invites you now to join us in accomplishing many more firsts at this year’s #HackforChange event on Saturday, June 6, at The LAB Miami. Code for Miami’s #HackforChange event, sponsored by Knight Foundation, will focus on four areas: Transportation, Disaster preparedness and relief, Climate change, Florida’s state vendor payments...National Day of Civic Hacking cities from across Florida will work to create visualizations and apps from state open data on vendor payments from the last five years...Other challenges will focus on using County 311 and GIS open data...”
Microsoft was a primary sponsor of the Boston NDoCH event, which started Friday evening and finished up Sunday night. If / when the civic hacking community in NE Wisconsin gets more connected, we’ll have to consider incorporating elements of civic hacking events in the cities where it’s been around longer.
“In my work as a [Microsoft] Civic Engagement Manager, people often ask about civic innovation, civic technology and civic media: What is it? How can I get involved? Code for Boston’s National Day of Civic Hacking (NDoCH) is one way to answer these questions...I sat down with Kristen Weber of Code for Boston to hear about the NDoCH activities planned for this upcoming weekend (June 5-7)...I hope to see you there! —Aimee SprungThe National Day of Civic Hacking (or NDoCH) is a nationwide event that brings together...concerned citizens to collaborate in a number of ways to improve their cities and communities. Locally – and with the generous support of Microsoft New England – Code for Boston is excited to announce that our NDoCH event will span Friday evening, June 5th through Sunday, June 7th...We’ll kick things off Friday evening with an opening reception...Our overarching theme for the weekend is Community Engagement so, to that end, we’ll follow the opening remarks with project pitches that aim to address problems of community engagement and empowerment in our cities and municipalities. After project pitches, teams will form so that, come Saturday morning, participants can hit the ground running and start working to address community problems...On Sunday, teams will gather once again at the Microsoft offices to finish up their project work and pitch their ideas, discussions, and projects to all event attendees...”
Louisville, a city of 250,000+, had about 35 participants in their NDoCH civic hackathon. One of their projects from the event that I want to try and get more info on is their restaurant health rating app.
“Hack for Change Louisville was held as the city’s official Code for America National Day of Civic Hacking event, one of over 100 simultaneous events across the United States. The day brought together local government leaders and staff, local organizations, non-profits, businesses, visitors, and community members and was focused on civic innovation. Over 35 people participated in this year’s event. Louisville’s Code for America brigade, the Civic Data Alliance, volunteered to organize this year’s event and partnered with Code Louisville for event hosting and promotions. We self-organized around 8 different projects, after narrowing the field from 16 potential ones...”
Chicago is developing a pretty good reputation as one of the leading US centers of civic hacking. I hope to connect with a bunch of Chicago civic hackers and get a few of them to participate in NE Wisconsin civic hacking events so we can learn from them.
“Some $500 billion is spent each year by governmental entities on information technology. Now so-called “civic hackers” are taking the vast troves of data that cities like Chicago collect, and designing apps to make that data more useful to the public. From apps that track food poisoning to potholes to parking -- the city of Chicago is leading the way in the growing "govtech" sector. We find out more. Joining us are Steve Hendershot technology correspondent for Crain's Chicago Business, and John Slania, associate dean for the School of Communication at Loyola University Chicago and freelance investigator for the Better Government Association...The Better Government Association compiled a list of municipal apps it discovered while researching its most recent Good Government Spotlight Report. View the BGA’s Muni App Guide...”
The 'government apps' article above mentioned BGAs Muni App Guide. I looked at that, and it only had twelve municipal apps in it. Tomorrow's post will take a look at the question of whether it would be worthwhile to have a central location where people can find out what civic hacks or government apps have been built or are being worked on. Sort of a Wikipedia for civic hacks, or a central app catalog for government apps...