This past weekend, over 11,000 individuals connected under the helm of the National Day of Civic Hacking (NDoCH) -- a series of local #HackForChange hackathons, unconferences, and meeting of the minds that engaged local communities with open data, code, and tech.From what we can tell, the NDoCH events were magnetic, drawing together participation from local (and traveling) developers, government officials (including a few mayors!), community leaders, and even 21 federal agencies. The vibe of this national organization not only encouraged a sort of: "If you can't hack with the city you reside in, hack with the one you're physically located in," but also further encouraged cross-pollination of civic applications from community to community (For more highlights from the national scene, check out this Storify feed.) Although Sunlight wasn’t able to attend every one of the 95 events held this past weekend, the events we did attend taught us quite a bit. Below, we’ve rounded up our reflections, recaps, and geeky highlights from the festivities in Baltimore, DC, Montgomery County, North Carolina, and Western Massachusetts. Continue reading
Civic Hacking Quarterly: Fall 2011
There's a lot going on in the world of open government and open data. And it's tough to keep up. Once a quarter, we'll do our best to round up all the events and challenges going on that the Sunlight Labs community may be interested in.
- Hack4Reno, September and October, Reno. The biggest little city in the world is hosting a series of events in the next month designed to build up a community of civic hackers, then caps it off with a 24 hour hackathon on October 15.
- Hacks/Hackers at ONA 11, Sep. 22, Boston. A day of hacking as the Online News Association's annual conference kicks off.
- Code 4 Country, Sep. 24-25, Washington, D.C. and Moscow: The first collaborative codeathon between Russia and the U.S. The D.C. event is taking place at American University, and the Moscow event at the offices of Russia's largest search engine, Yandex, located on Leo Tolstoy Street.
- BmoreSmart Meets City Hall, Sep. 27, Baltimore. The Baltimore startup community meets with the City of Baltimore's CIO to discuss city government, technology, and citizen engagement.
- Hack the Map, Oct. 2, Phoenix. Part of WhereCampPHX, this hackathon is focusing on geo apps.
- Apps for SEPTA, Oct. 8-9, Philadelphia. The Philly area's transit system has recently released GTFS data and a real-time bus and trolley API. Time to let a thousand apps bloom.
- Data Without Borders Kickoff, Oct. 14-16, New York City. This nascent organization kicks off with this event pairing NGOs with data hackers. More events are planned for London, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.
- Open Government Data Camp, Oct. 20-21, Warsaw. The Open Knowledge Foundation is hosting two days of talks, code sprints, and workshops in Poland's capital. Sunlight will be there, and we've pitched in $5,000 to support travel bursaries for US attendees.
- OpenDataPhilly's OpenDataRace, through Oct. 28. The open data community in Philly is seeking input from city non-profits on data sets not currently available that would be useful to their work. Then, OpenDataPhilly will work with the City of Philadelphia to make that data available.
- OpenAccessPhilly Forum, Oct. 28. A forum to discover what the City of Philadelphia and its citizens are doing at the intersection of civic innovation, participation, and technology.
- Education Hack Day, Nov. 12-13, Baltimore. Developers and designers will get together at the Digital Harbor High School to build apps based on ideas from local teachers. Current project ideas include a parent-teacher conference scheduler using a web and phone interface, and a homework notifier, via email, voice, or SMS, for parents.
- Apps for Metro Chicago. Submissions by Sep. 30.
- Apps for Communities. Submissions by October 3.
- Apps Against Abuse. Submissions by October 17.
- The ASPR Lifeline Facebook Application Challenge. Submissions by November 4.
- Apps 4 Africa Climate Challenge. Runs this year and next year. Entrants must live in Africa. Mentors can be from outside of Africa.
- California Laws Hackathon, Sep. 17, Berkeley and Denver. Co-hosted by our friends at Maplight.
- Cleveland Civic Hacking Meetup, Sep. 13.
- Transit Hack Day, Sep. 10. Hosted by the Mobility Lab of Arlington County, Virginia.
- Reinvent NYC.gov, Jul. 30-31.
If we've missed something going on through the end of the year, let us know in the comments. If you're planning an event for 2012, send Luigi a quick note.
Each edition of Civic Hacking Quarterly will close by featuring a local civic hacking group. To kick things off, we're highlighting OpenLexington. Based in Kentucky, the group reminds us that civic hackers are not just found in big cities. In addition to a full website, OpenLexington has a presence on Github, Twitter, and Google Groups. Founder Chase Southard has recently been added to an Open Data workgroup inside the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, with plans of a data catalog launch in the near future. The next OpenLexington meetup is scheduled for October 27 at 7 p.m.Continue reading