We've written before about Hackathons and Data Dives. Now, I'd like to bring your attention to a coordinated set of events happening the weekend of June 1st, called the National Day of Civic Hacking. The official web site describes it as:
using publicly-released data, code and technology to solve challenges relevant to our neighborhoods, our cities, our states and our country.
There are national challenges, mostly from Federal agencies looking for citizen help in using technology to solve problems. To take the first example from the Challenges list, the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is looking for teams to create tools that leverage their data of consumer complaints about financial products and companies. And there are local projects too, using data and problems posed by local governments and civic organizations.
The DC event, called The DC Hack for Change Day, will primarily be about local problems and local data. Coordinated by Code for DC, the local brigade of Code for America, developers, data people, and domain experts will be working on topics including the DC legal code, DC K-12 education data, and DC budget data. (I'm coordinating the education data project.) The event is filled up, but I'd encourage people interested in participating in this sort of thing to join the waitlist, then join Code for DC and help to continue these efforts in the weeks and months ahead. (One of the goals of hackathons, after all, is to energize people to work on projects that will grow over time!)
For people outside the district, or who heard about this too late to join the DC event, there are several other outstanding events nearby:
- Hack for Change Baltimore will be virtually coordinating with teams from Philadelphia to work on topics including housing and lending discrimination, vacant properties, and the city's legal code.
- Hack for Change Montgomory County will be meeting in Rockville/Shady Grove to tackle topics such as water quality and transit data.
- Northern Virginia's National Day of Civic Hacking will be meeting in Arlington/Ballston to tackle data from National Science Foundation and challenges from Arlington and Alexandria.
These are all amazing opportunities to get involved with important problems, meet others, learn a lot, and start to build analyses and solutions that could make a difference! We hope that you can attend!