Calling All Coders: AT&T Public Safety App Hackathon

This blog post was written by Ben Nelson. Ben Nelson is a Sr. Product Marketing Manager for the AT&T Developer Program.

Have you been looking to build an app that will have a real impact on your community? Then our AT&T Mobile App Hackathon focused on Public Safety is for you!

This event will bring together developers, designers, and first responder communications experts in order to disrupt the public safety app market. We will have experts from AT&T, Google, DHS, McAfee and Apperian onsite to assist you in building your apps and launching them into the public safety space. In order to help everyone get their juices flowing the Department of Homeland Security has provided us with four (4) challenges to give everyone visibility into the markets needs.

At the end of the day winners will take down their share of over $25,000 in prizes AND participants will have the opportunity to win cool prizes (e.g. Spheros or Quadricopters) just for speaking with first responders about their apps.

To learn more and register, visit:

Calling all Coders! Code-a-Palooza Submissions Now Open

The Health Datapalooza 2014 Code-a-Palooza challenge is now open for submissions! Teams will use newly-released Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) data to create interactive data visualization tools to help consumers improve their health care decision-making.  Prizes totaling $35,000 will be awarded. HDP_logo-hi-res_RGB 

Code-a-Palooza Timeline:

  • Wednesday, April 9 – Code-a-Palooza opens for submissions
  • Friday, April 25 – Visualization proposals of no more than 750 words due
  • Friday, May 2 – Top five to ten finalists notified
  • Throughout May – Finalists build out visualization tools
  • June 1-3 at Health Datapalooza – Finalists present a live demo to a panel of judges and winners are announced

Why should you participate?

  • Code-a-Palooza applicants will be eligible for a discounted Health Datapalooza registration rate of $195
  • Finalists receive two complimentary registrations to Health Datapalooza 2014
  • Gain recognition for your team and network with leaders in healthcare
  • First place team awarded $20,000, second place $10,000 and third $5,000


To learn more about this year’s Code-a-Palooza challenge and submit your proposal, please visit the Health Datapalooza website.

Watch a video of last year’s winners, Hippocratic Code from Medstar Institute for Innovation, to learn more about the Health Datapalooza Code-a-Palooza experience.

What If Wikipedia Could Update Itself? More at OpenGov WikiHack

James Hare

Wikipedia is known throughout the world as a valuable source of information on almost any subject imaginable. Since its creation in 2001, Wikipedia has amassed over 30 million articles in 287 languages—over 4.4 million in English alone. This is made possible by the countless hours and efforts of volunteers, each contributing bits and pieces of his or her expertise. Unfortunately, despite the continued advance of technology, the act of writing paragraphs of prose has yet to be automated and still requires the efforts of humans.

But that does not mean that every part of Wikipedia is curated by hand. As we speak, automated software processes called “bots” are responsible for all manner of routine maintenance. These include removing vandalism from articles, sorting pages in and out of categories and checking for instances of copyright infringement on newly created articles. One of the earliest bots, Rambot, was created in 2002 to create articles on places throughout the United States, creating almost 37,000 Wikipedia articles in the process. This was made possible with data gathered from the U.S. Census Bureau and other agencies—more details are available here.

The idea behind the open data movement is that the massive amounts of data collected and generated by our government should be available for the people to use—not just published in reports, but in computer-readable formats so that they can be used in research and analysis. There are many uses of open data—journalists rely on open data to break news and businesses use open data as a component of their business plans.

Wikimedia DC

Since open data is a valuable source of public knowledge, why not use it to improve Wikipedia and keep it up to date? Granted, Wikipedia is not intended to be an indiscriminate dumping ground of data and it would be inconsistent with its editorial policies to use data to come to novel conclusions not already published somewhere else. However, there are still applications of data that would suit Wikipedia’s mission. Many articles have boxes alongside the introductory section, containing quick facts about the subject of the article. In wiki-parlance these are called “infoboxes,” and the new project Wikidata allows people to upload infobox data to one place and then use it on every language edition of Wikipedia.

Wikimedia DC, as an affiliate of the organization that runs Wikipedia, is pleased to partner with the Sunlight Foundation to host the Open Government WikiHack, a hackathon dedicated to finding ways to use structured government data to improve Wikipedia. The event will be held all-day April 5–6 at the Sunlight Foundation’s offices in Washington, DC and will feature a mix of coders and non-coders, Wikipedians and non-Wikipedians. We want you to bring your ideas on how government data can improve Wikipedia, whether it involves the Sunlight APIs or another public source of information and we will give you the opportunity to make it happen.

What: OpenGovernment WikiHack

Where: Sunlight Foundation 1818 N St. NW Suite 300

When: April 5-6, 2014

Register: HERE.

There will be a happy hour At Sunlight Foundation on Friday April 4, 5:00pm and the hack will begin the next day.

Feel free to share with your networks with #wikihack on Twitter and if you have any questions, please email us at:


James Hare is the president of Wikimedia DC, a nonprofit organization affiliated with Wikipedia and the Wikimedia Foundation. A Wikipedia editor since 2004, he is a free knowledge advocate based in Washington, DC. You can reach James at

Channel Your Mad Data Skills into an App to Showcase at Health Datapalooza 2014

HealthDatapalooza2014 logo

The Health Data Consortium invites DC2 members and others with a passion for innovation and big data in health to submit an app for consideration for the Health Datapalooza 2014 App Demos—a chance to put your work in front of key health influencers and investors convening for the premier national conference on liberating health data to achieve better healthcare outcomes from June 1-3 in Washington, DC.

Applying is easy—just fill out your contact information, link to the app (if available), and provide background information on the app by Friday, February 28 to be considered.

Why submit an app for demo? For the opportunity to:

  • Reach over 2,400 key health data innovators, health care industry executives, policymakers, venture capitalists, startups, developers, researchers, providers, consumers, and patient advocates
  • Engage in one-on-one conversations with potential customers, collaborators, and investors
  • Gain recognition for their organization and products while making connections

Participate in live demos of the latest apps, hear from visionaries in the field, engage in one-on-one conversations with potential customers, collaborators, and investors, and network, network, network!

Submit a health app:

More info:

Follow Health Datapalooza on Twitter: @hdpalooza, #hdpalooza

National Day of Civic Hacking Events in DC, MD, and VA

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:

A National Event that will take place 06/01-02/2013 and will bring together citizens, software developers, and entrepreneurs across the nation to collaboratively create, build and invenusing 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:

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!

Transportation Data Palooza - Free Event

On May 9 USDOT will be hosting Transportation Data Palooza at USDOT Headquarters, located at 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE Washington DC, 20590. Registration to attend in person or via webinar is now open.  Space is limited!

The purpose of this event is to showcase innovative technology solutions that:

  • Enhance performance,
  • Reduce congestion,
  • Improve safety,
  • Incorporate supplementary/alternative data sources,
  • Make use of data mining/analysis tools such as big data analytics or text analytics,
  • Pioneers the use of mobility management strategies for moving people and/or goods,
  • Visualizes data to enhance understanding of critical transportation information,
  • Enhances public access to data,
  • Incorporates investment optimization tools (trade-off analysis), and
  • Facilitates communication across the transportation industry at the local, state or regional level.

This event is part of USDOT’s larger efforts to be a central resource for transportation performance management tools, training, and noteworthy practices for implementing MAP-21 performance requirements.  The event will consist of an exhibition of interactive transportation data solutions, presentations, and panel discussions.


Please register to attend in-person or via webinar at

  •  Webinar Registration - A link to the Transportation Data Palooza webinar rooms will be emailed to webinar participants on May 6.
  • In-person Registration - For those attending in-person, additional information, including instructions on entering USDOT Headquarters will be emailed on May 3.

For additional information, visit



Create Data-Driven Tools that May Improve Diabetes Care for a Chance to Win $100K

This post is being reblogged by DC2 as it looked like a pretty worthy cause. The original author was Dwayne Spradlin.

RDD-DDD-1week-left-700px-w 2

In 2011, McKinsey Global Institute put out a study that projected, “If U.S. healthcare were to use big data creatively and effectively to drive efficiency and quality, the sector could create more than $300 billion in value every year.” The transformative power of open data has been a hot topic of national conversation over the past several years, particularly in its application to healthcare, as data practitioners ponder groundbreaking new developments that could change the lives of patients. In what may come as a surprising move for some, Sanofi US, an established healthcare player, is leading the charge to find out exactly what’s possible when you apply the power of open data to healthcare innovation to help millions of people living with diabetes.

Last week, in partnership with the Health Data Consortium, the Sanofi US 2013 Data Design Diabetes Innovation Challenge - Prove It! kicked off the Redesigning Data Challenge Series, inviting innovators to create data-driven tools that could potentially improve diabetes care in the US. Now in its third year, the partnership with the Health Data Consortium brings a new focus on data to Data Design Diabetes, encouraging entrepreneurs, data scientists, and designers to create the evidence needed to make better decisions related to diabetes. Through baseline knowledge models, evidence-based practice, or predictive analysis, the Challenge asks innovators to submit Prove It! concepts that have the potential to create real change with real knowledge.

Since its inception in 2011, Data Design Diabetes has helped to launch a number of successful startups, spurring innovative solutions to help people living with diabetes, their families, and their caregivers. The first Data Design Diabetes winner,, uses an app that alerts caregivers to concerning behavioral changes. The team has raised $8.2M in venture funding, has grown to a team of twelve, and recently acquired Rock Health startup, Pipette. has been groundbreaking in its use of mobile technology to create data that can be utilized to help improve the health and daily lives of people living with diabetes. Last year’s winner, n4a Diabetes Care Center, uses predictive analysis to isolate and target patients based on cost patterns and risk profiles, to provide them with support and services designed to slow the progression of the disease, improve the quality of health, and slow the spending associated with a patient’s health.

Prove It! is open for submissions now through April 7, 2013. Finalist teams will present at Health Datapalooza IV in Washington, DC, and one winner will receive $100,000.


EVIDENCE-BASED HEALTH OUTCOMES: Ability to demonstrate in an evidence-based way how the concept can improve the outcomes and/or experience of people living with diabetes in the US.

TARGET AUDIENCE: Ability to support one or more members of the healthcare ecosystem and provide them with data-driven tools or evidence-based insight that can help them make better contributions to staving the diabetes epidemic in the US.

DECISION-MAKING: Ability to illustrate how the concept can enable better data-driven decision-making at a particular stage across the spectrum of type 1 or type 2 diabetes, from lifestyle and environmental factors to diagnosis, treatment, maintenance, and beyond.

DATA SCIENCE: Utilize new or traditional data methodology -- such as baseline knowledge models, evidence-based practice, and predictive analysis -- to create a tool that may potentially change the landscape of diabetes management through richer insight, more timely information, or better sets of decisions.


2013 Data Design Diabetes Innovation Challenge Timeline

  • March 18: Challenge open for submissions
  • April 7: Last day to submit to the Challenge
  • April 18: Finalists announced during TEDMED
  • April 18-June 2: Finalists participate in virtual incubator
  • April 26-28: Innovators’ bootcamp in San Francisco, CA
  • June 3: Finalists present at Health Datapalooza IV
  • June 4: Winner announced at Health Datapalooza IV


Submit a concept today, or follow the Challenge on Twitter or Facebook for updates as the 2013 Data Design Diabetes Innovation Challenge - Prove It! progresses.

Change the Game: Sports Analytics Contest

OpenSDH – Analytics Research Contest

Sports Data Hub (SDH) is pleased to announce the OpenSDH Analytics Research Contest. OpenSDH is a collaborative project between Sports Data Hub, sports industry professionals, and technology companies to build a common sports analytics platform. As part of the analysis portion of the OpenSDH project, we have decided to engage the skills and creativity of the larger analytic community through sponsoring a contest using real professional data. We hope the result will be the further advancement of sports analytics techniques as well as more sports industry opportunities for contestants. In a split from normal contest formats, we are requesting that contestants provide their solution as a short paper (5-10 pages is sufficient) describing their approach along with associated R code. This enables pro teams using the OpenSDH platform to quickly try out contestant solutions on their own data and the contestants end up with a tangible output to help establish professional connections to sports teams.


First prize is a presentation spot at the 2013 New England Symposium on Sports in Statistics (NESSIS) to be held September 14, 2013, as well as $500 + hotel + airfare (for 1 person). Recognition will also be given to the best “Out of the Box” idea. This award recognizes entries that have broken radically new ground and does not have a prize associated with it.


Based on player GPS position and team possession data, the goal of the contest is to learn about various game success measures from team positioning dynamics. The types of game measures of interest: scoring, turnovers created/lost, possession time, and ground gained/lost against an opponent. (Example analysis themes are outlined in the Contest Details document link below)


For the competition, we will be releasing a “small” set of GPS player positioning data for three games from a professional sports league (approximately 1.75 million rows of data). This positioning data is typical of worldwide professional sports teams that utilize newer GPS systems for player tracking.We will also include possession data that represents outcome results.


We have posted several public documents on dropbox that provide further contest details, limitations, background, and FAQs.


Email with your name, your affiliation, and some information about your interest / experience in sports analytics.

Data files will be made available starting March 10th, 2013 Entries must be submitted prior to July 1st at 12 midnight ET Winner will be notified by July 15th, 2013 Judges: SDH staff, pro analysts, and/or academic statisticians Judging criteria:

  1. Conclusions (meaning/explanation of discoveries)
  2. Validity (is it a valid result?)
  3. Uniqueness (has it been done before?)
  4. Appropriateness (analysis approach used)
  5. Presentation (data presentation/visualization)
  6. Ease of use (how easily a team could use it)
  7. Code (review of R code)


  1. You may NOT currently, or previously, be employed by an AFL team.
  2. You may NOT currently be employed by a data/analysis services provider.
  3. You may NOT enter as a company.
  4. You may work in groups of up to two. (only one team member gets free travel to conference).
  5. Provided data may NOT be posted, shared, or copied and must be permanently deleted after the contest.
  6. Data / results from your analysis may not be used commercially
  7. There will be opportunities to turn your work into an R analysis package for the OpenSDH platform, if you wish to do so.
  8. In unique cases that don’t meet this list of limitations, SDH reserves the right to use their own judgment to determine contest eligibility. Their decision will be final.

The DC Data Weekly: Education Data Contests and Sources

This weeks DC Data Weekly is short but sweet and is directly aligned with our upcoming Data Business DC Meetup next Wednesday!  

K-12 Education Data Challenge

Apps4VA Open Competition Deadline – January 31, 2013! Apps4VA Open Competition challenges applicants (everyone is eligible!) to build an app using at least one dataset from the VLDS ( More than $25,000 in cash and prizes will be awarded. Participants may submit as many apps as they would like.  Submissions will be evaluated based on criteria that support the mission of the program. Submission details can be found at:  For more information (including details on the Apps4VA High School Competition), see or follow Apps4VA on twitter @apps4va.



Hackathons and DataDives

The Data Events DC calendar currently shows three Hackathons and DataDives over the next few months, and at least one other will be posted shortly. But what is a Hackathon or a DataDive? How are they different? And why would a data professional be interested? Hackathons are intense events, usually held over several days, where people try to creatively solve problems and prototype products, often software products. They usually have stakeholders or sponsors with problems to solve and prize money to award. Participants see presentations about the event's goals, then self-organize into teams to work. After a couple of days (and often nights) of work, fueled typically by caffeine and pizza, the teams present their work and a winner is announced.

DataDives are similar, but are focused on analysis of data rather than development of products. The term was coined by the folks at DataKind a few years ago when they were trying to distinguish their events, where statisticians and data scientists team up to work pro bono on nonprofit data, from often entrepreneurial Hackathons.

So why would you, as a data professional, want to lose an entire weekend to one of these? Here are a few reasons:

  • DataDives for nonprofits and Open Data Hackathons for the public sector are a great way to give back to the community. You have great skills -- put them to use for more than just a paycheck.
  • These events are insanely good networking opportunities. You won't just be swapping business cards, you'll be working side-by-side with people in different industries, with different skill sets, in a way that's otherwise impossible.
  • You'll learn a lot -- about technology, about data, about the problem domain. Expect to have new tools in your toolkit by the end of the weekend.
  • The experience of creatively exploring a problem or a data set in a team environment, with intense time pressure, can be very fun and rewarding on its own.
  • Projects don't always just last 36 hours. Many Hackathons turn into real products, commercial or open-source. And many DataDives turn into positive long-term engagements with nonprofits. Check out the amazing results that started at a DC DataDive last year!
  • Adrenaline and caffeine are great drugs. Free pizza/food.
  • Who knows -- you might win something!

So what's coming up?

Next weekend, January 26th-27th, is a Hackathon focused around issues of domestic violence in Central America. Many of the needs are around technology and software development, but there are some data-focused projects as well. The event is at sites across Central America, as well as here in DC, at the World Bank.

The Bicoastal Datafest, February 2nd-3rd, is organized in part by the Sunlight Foundation, a DC nonprofit focused on government transparency. Participants will dive into campaign contribution data to suggest ways of understanding and communicating the role of money in politics. The DataDive is in NYC and at Stanford, or virtual participants are welcome. There's plenty of time for a DC-based team to find nonvirtual space too -- contact us if you'd like to organize this!

Open Data Day is an international hackathon around government data on Saturday, February 23rd, with events held around the world. The DC event is currently sold out, but the organizers are looking for a larger venue where they'll be able to accommodate the amazing number of interested people. Registration is once again open for the DC event!

Check back soon for an announcement around another DC-centric DataDive, this one to be held in March, dealing with international development data! And even more hackathons are expected in coming months. Subscribe to this blog or our events calendar, or follow DC2 on Twitter to be sure not to miss any announcements.

Had a good experience around a Hackathon or DataDive? Know of an event we don't yet have listed? Please post a comment!