Saturday, June 6, 2015

OnScene Report: DHMN Civic Hackathon/Appleton 2015

The DHMN Civic Hackathon/Appleton 2015 started out at 9 AM today, June 6, 2015, with about 30 civic hackers (out of the 46 people registered). Some people had to cancel due to other commitments that came up, and some participants couldn't show up until later in the day. We had participants from Appleton, Green Bay, De Pere, Oshksoh, Fremont, Togo and probably a few other places.

Karen Harkness of the city of Appleton opened the event with a few details, then introduced Mayor Tim Hanna of the city of Appleton, who did a short hackathon kickoff talk. After the mayor's kickoff, the group watched the Catherine Bracy TED video, "Why Good Hackers Make Good Citizens." We then discussed logistics for the day and broke up into two groups for the ideation sessions.

One group, led by Kevin Worth, talked about what code-focused civic hacks people would or could work on. The other group, led by me (Bob Waldron) discussed a range of potential civic hacks that seemed like they'd be useful and worthwhile to build. One area of effort and interest for code-focused work was doing something associated with Mike Putnam's AppletonAPI and his "Is It Recycle Week?" Android app. The other area of code-focused hacking was GIS, with hacks related to flash flooding, especially in Africa, or hacks related to buses in the Fox Valley.

Below are a few photos of the civic hackers working on their projects during today's hackathon.

Working on AppletonAPI and "Is It Recycling Week?" Android app
Discussing GIS, flash flooding and Python
Discussing civic hacks for voting and railroad crossings

Pushing Valley Transit bus data into PostgreSQL/PostGIS
Tomorrow I'll add a bit more info, if I can collect or remember it, about hacks people were working on today. I'll also see if I can get Mike Putnam do a follow-up post about work people did related to the AppletonAPI and the "Is It Recycle Week?" Android app.

Thanks to the city of Appleton and other sponsors for making today's civic hackathon possible. Tomorrow's post will also include some thoughts about future civic hacking activity in NE Wisconsin.


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