Unlocking a Mystery: The Amazing Mind of an Open Data Hacker


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A quick glimpse profile of an open data hacker, this presentation explores the mysterious nature of our self-organizing communities and attempts to provide insights into motivations, needs, and aspirations of individuals and groups that “hack” open data. We look at a few examples of community Open Data projects & discuss how web, mobile and social media bring forward the power of Open Data to create break-through innovation.

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  • Hacker – terrifying and mysterious wordWhat’s the first visual that comes to your mind
  • Criminal hacking into a mainframe
  • Security hacker deciphering the latest batch of crypto, trying to catch the criminal hacker
  • A college kid hacking into a public WIFI
  • …kids learn to hack younger, get into trouble earlierOh Charlie Brown, why did you take up hacking!
  • Definition – of these 4, which 3 apply to open data hacker?
  • My favorite – particularly when applied to making data do something it was not intended to
  • Let’s look at what open data hackers do, what motivates them and how you can become one
  • Hi I’m NikGarkusha – twitter / linked in
  • A group responsible for Open Source strategy & Open Gov initiatives at Microsoft CanadaBy Night – I run a community organization OpenHalton, helping to bringOpen Data to the Halton Region
  • I’m a hacker at heart.
  • I go to work, I drink beer after work (sometimes)
  • Go on vacation, play with my kids
  • But then – also go to and organize these crazy sounding events -- Hackathons& CodeFests
  • Why spend evenings and nights hacking Open Data?
  • 3 reasons:
  • 3 reasons:
  • 3 reasons:
  • Motivation? My city..
  • Lots of opportunity to change the way we consume the information & use the data from my city
  • Or region – the way I can help make the data more useful to my community.
  • How to stay relevant in the evolving world of how people connect?Today people are looking to connect to the Open Gov data with what they are used to and prefer.
  • Examples:
  • Crime as night lights - SFCrime as elevation - SF
  • Stop & Frisk NYC – visualized with CartoDBNY Bus – CartoDBMoscow traffic congestion visualization - CartoDB
  • Parks Finder projects – using SIMILE Exhibit framework
  • Like the LED heads-up display at JP Licks ice cream in Boston –Shows bus arrival / departure times to help customers time their purchases – and for the business to time their next batch of treats
  • Council Expense data – Vancouver example – different apps, different insights
  • Street crossing + accident data – Hamilton / OpenHamiltonSchoolZone app – insights into safer routes for kids
  • Emitter.ca – insights into industrial pollution around the cornerAs well as local MP/MPP information for those areas.
  • Add value
  • Milton splash – during the heat-wave, to help folks find splashpads nearby
  • Halton Flu – help folks find Flu clinics nearby
  • Skating Rink & Hocking Rink apps – OpenHamilton & Montreal Ouvert
  • The infamous VanTrash project that transformed into ReCollect – a service to remind you of your garbage & recycling days – across multiple devicesSends you SMS, email and even calls your phone
  • The cycle doesn’t stop here – as experiments offer insights, which turn into useful services for people……citizens, government & other hackers provide feedback/comments/suggestions…leading to further experiments, new features, new possibilities.
  • Example – from hacking recreation activity data(openHalton, openHamilton)Insights into a common Recreation Activity standard – GRAFInto a possible Service…
  • GRAF service that captures program information, facility & resource detail – within a framework that allows for easier discovery & decision making process for individualsWe’re working with early data from several pilots – do you see opportunities for your municipality?
  • Be a hacker?!
  • After all, we’re just one of you – and you’re one of us –We are hackers, fathers, students, government employees & we’re all Citizens
  • … and when your flight is landing in Toronto..… you’re probably looking out the window to see if you can spot your town … just like the rest of us
  • Unlocking a Mystery: The Amazing Mind of an Open Data Hacker

    1. 1. hack·er noun ˈha-kər1: one that hacks2: a person who is inexperienced or unskilled at aparticular activity <e.g. a tennis hacker>3: an expert at programming and solving problemswith a computer4: a person who illegally gains access to andsometimes tampers with information in a computersystem http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hacker
    2. 2. hackera person who enjoys exploring the limits of what ispossible, in a spirit of playful cleverness.…It includes building, rebuilding, modifying, andcreating software (software cracking, demoscene), electronic hardware (hardwarehacking, modding), or anything else, eitherfaster or itanything else, either to make it better or to makebetter or faster orfeaturesitor to make it do to maketo give it added to give added features orit do something it was never intended do.something it was never intended to to do. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hacker_(hobbyist)
    3. 3. hacker
    4. 4. ?
    5. 5. dougmccune.com
    6. 6. lab.solugeo.fr / CatroDB
    7. 7. openhalton.ca/burlingtonparks
    8. 8. schoolzone.moappi.com
    9. 9. emitter.ca
    10. 10. openhalton.ca/splash
    11. 11. openhalton.ca/flu
    12. 12. patinermontreal.ca
    13. 13. recollect.net
    14. 14. 1. Experiment 3. 2.Service Insights
    15. 15. openlab.ca
    16. 16. GRAF.azurewebsites.net
    17. 17. Do YOU want to [ we want you ]be a Hacker ?
    18. 18. Nik Garkusha Image Attributions: • Open Hamilton Hackathon: Joey Coleman • OpenDataLondon Hackathon: KVL Kevin van Lierop • http://www.flickr.com/photos/cverdier/4837773532 WebNotWar.ca /sizes/l/ • http://www.flickr.com/photos/pagedooley/4153621 948/sizes/o/ OpenHalton.ca • http://www.flickr.com/photos/31246066@N04/425 2587897/sizes/l/ • http://www.opensource.org/ • http://www.flickr.com/photos/tonz/4381525523/ • http://www.flickr.com/photos/godlesswanderer/373 9368307/ twitter: @nik_g • http://dougmccune.com • http://www.flickr.com/photos/abneet/4563868454/linkedin: nik garkusha • http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikebaird/42646111 33/ • http://www.flickr.com/photos/rosh/246187583/nikga@microsoft.com • http://johnfmoore.files.wordpress.com nik@openhalton.ca