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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.


Just Passed

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. 

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