Your New Partners: Understanding Civic Hackathons, Why You Should be Involved, and How to Get Started
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Your New Partners: Understanding Civic Hackathons, Why You Should be Involved, and How to Get Started

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Andrew Thompson gave this talk at the December 2014 meeting of DVRPC's IREG group, which was billed as a special full-day "Open Source Geo Day" event.

Andrew Thompson gave this talk at the December 2014 meeting of DVRPC's IREG group, which was billed as a special full-day "Open Source Geo Day" event.

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Your New Partners: Understanding Civic Hackathons, Why You Should be Involved, and How to Get Started Your New Partners: Understanding Civic Hackathons, Why You Should be Involved, and How to Get Started Presentation Transcript

  • Your New Partners: Understanding Civic Hackathons, Why You Should be Involved, and How to Get Started Andrew Thompson athompson@azavea.com @azavea @andrewbt
  • Community! Hackathons!
  • Azavea Makes Civic GIS Software
  • And we’re also a B Corporation…
  • …so we do things like Space Apps!
  • The International Space Apps Challenge?  Second annual, twoday hackathon  Globally organized by NASA  Locally organized in 83 cities by Local Leads  Teams collaborate globally using data to design solutions to challenges developed by NASA
  • 9,147 people, 770 solutions
  • “OK Andrew, that’s cool, but none of us work for NASA or have a Space Station…”
  • “…What are some examples of great hackathons closer to home?”
  • Apps4Septa / Apps for Philly Transit
  • Septa.org/hackathon
  • V3.Septa.mobi
  • From OnTheMap…
  • …to PHLWork!
  • Census API
  • Third Party Census API!
  • Github
  • Github Pages
  • Github GeoJSON!
  • School Transit Accessibility
  • TechCamp Philadelphia: Education
  • Schools + Budgets API from PDFs
  • PDFs…ugh! But at least it’s out!
  • Solar Sunflower: Funded by PA DEP!
  • Apps from hackathons are great, but they are incidental to the real benefits.
  • “[One of] the best things I have heard a government official say at a hackathon is, „I never thought about doing it that way.‟” -Mark Headd, Chief Data Officer
  • Think Different.  We are all in our own silos, focused on our own metrics.  Hackathons help us break out of that. – Outside “hackers” bring new people + ideas. – Inside “hackers” from other departments bring other perspectives, conversations.  Collaboration sparks innovation.
  • Making Maps is Easy Now. Data is the Hard Thing.
  • Hackathons Help You Prepare Data  Events make good deadlines.  Deadlines pressure.  Pressure can make the difference between releasing data, or delaying.  Hackathons make you to think about, prepare, and describe your data in a way fit for external consumption.  Hackers can provide feedback.
  • APIs Describe Data Well
  • You Can “Dog Food” Them Too!
  • Preparing Data Helps You Later  Use your data and APIs in your own applications.  Integrate with data and processes in other departments. – PGW and rental licenses  You get started by releasing data to civic hackers.
  • What Makes a Great Hackathon? How do we get started?
  • “You get what you plan for”  Research past events  Plan as a whole organization – “Buy in”  Look for partners – Apps for Philly Transit had several agencies come together.  Outreach, Outreach, Outreach – The best ideas come from diverse crowds. – Meetup.com – Press Releases
  • “You get what you plan for”  Come up with interesting challenges. Think big, but also think achievable.  NASA challenges each had a Subject Matter Expert who answered questions from teams.  Need a free, quick place to store open data? Use Github! GeoJSON!
  • Partnership – Show up at the event! Thank your volunteer hackers!
  • “[Space Apps] is the result of government recognizing that we can be more relevant for our stakeholders and intentionally create a culture of openness. This is crucial as we attempt to evolve into a twenty-first century space program for a twenty-first century democracy.”
  • Thank you! Want to work with us? We’re hiring! Azavea.com