Guest Post: Calling All Phoenix Area Civic Hackers


Marc Chung is one of the organizers who helped make the Great American Hackathon a success, and is a friend of Sunlight. He’s asked for a little space on the Labs blog to announce his new Phoenix-area open data group, and we’re only too happy to oblige. Read on for the details.

I’m Marc Chung, a computer scientist who is passionate about bringing technologists together to improve our world.

Last year, I organized the Phoenix edition of the Great American Hackathon. That weekend a local gathering of developers decided to contribute time towards building a (parser)[] for the Arizona State Legislature. The work was done as part of the Fifty States project which supports organizations like MapLight and OpenCongress.

After the hackathon, I was contacted by several journalists and developers who were very excited by the work we did and just as eager to offer their assistance on future civic hacking initiatives. In the short time since GAH ’09, we’ve been working with to extract useful information from public data in an effort to shed more light on how state governments work.

Combining the interests of these two groups was inevitable and so today, along with Mark Ng and Brian Shaler, I’d like to announce PhxData, a group to unite technologists in the Phoenix area who are engaged in data mining, parsing, visualization, etc. It also serves as a platform for journalists and government officials to connect with civic hackers who want to take public data and make it useful.

Check out our website:

If you’re a data scientist, journalist, government official, statistician, developer or designer who would like to work on exploring data in the interest of pursuing greater government transparency for the state of Arizona, you should join this group.