Civic Hackers Across the Country Will Band Together in June for National Day of Civic Hacking

Janet Wagner, Data Journalist / Full Stack Developer
May. 17 2013, 10:00AM EDT

Hackers across the country are getting ready to participate in the first annual National Day of Civic Hacking which will take place in over 80 cities on June 1st and 2nd, 2013. The two day event will bring together citizens, developers, government agencies and entrepreneurs to create applications using publicly available APIs and datasets, to help solve a civic or social problem impacting the local community.

At the time of this writing, the National Day of Civic Hacking features over 85 locally organized events, 19 government partners, 37 data sets/resources and 5,000 participants are expected. There are three main types of events that cities participating in the National Day of Civic Hacking can choose to organize and host; block party, hackathon and brigade meetup. The type of event will vary from city to city and will depend on the needs of the local community.

National Day of Civic Hacking

There are currently over 20 challenges submitted by federal government departments and agencies. The White House has even submitted a challenge to the event (registration now closed), that involves the recently released We the People API. Here are just a few of the challenges that will take place at the National Day of Civic Hacking:

  • Hacking the Digital Public Library of America - Use the DPLA’s dataset of over 2.4 million records of digitized cultural heritage from our nation’s libraries, archives, and museums to create visualizations, mapping applications and data enhancement tools.
  • The Location Affordability Data Challenge - Create an API that helps consumers, planners, policymakers, and researchers to leverage a new database (currently in development) of neighborhood-scale housing and transportation costs.
  • Farmers Market Directory - Creation of mobile applications to enhance the Farmers Market experience and make trips easier by using USDA's Farmers Market Directory.
  • We Love Data - How can we encourage people to interact with space data in new and meaningful ways, in effect promoting space enthusiasm, education, and a stronger human community?
  • The Census American Community Challenge - Leverage statistics about every neighborhood in the nation to create useful tools that look at everything from commute times to median income to poverty rates.

The organizing partners for the National Day of Civic Hacking are Code for America, Random Hacks of Kindness and Innovation Endeavors. Government agencies participating include White House Office of Digital Strategy, Census Bureau, NASA, Department of Labor, USDA and many others.

Are you a civic hacker? According to the National Day of Civic Hacking website FAQ, "Civic Hackers" are defined as:

"Civic hackers" as we think about it for the National Day of Civic Hacking are engineers, technologists, civil servants, scientists, designers, artists, educators, students, entrepreneurs, community members – anybody - who is willing to collaborate with others to create, build, and invent open source solutions using publicly-released data, code and technology to solve challenges relevant to our neighborhoods, our cities, our states and our country.

To find National Day of Civic Hacking events near you or to view the complete lists of challenges and events, visit hackforchange.org.

Janet Wagner Janet is a data journalist and full stack developer based in Toledo, Ohio. Her focus revolves around APIs, data visualization, machine learning, and data-driven journalism. Follow her on Twitter: @webcodepro and on Google+

Comments