Americans Use Public Data to Improve the Lives of Fellow Citizens Data is one of our most important national assets. It informs our policy and our national priorities. But as we have seen time and time again, the most effective way to govern is to engage with the public directly. Thanks to the President’s Executive Order requiring that agencies make data open, we are democratizing access to data.
National Day Of Civic Hacking
As the civic hacking movement continues to grow in the United States, agencies are starting to adopt hackathons to engage citizens in the challenging work of improving government services and solving real-world challenges using open data. Whether you are planning your own hackathon, or planning in a multi-government agency “mass collaboration” such as the National Day of Civic Hacking, it’s important to design citizen engagement events well. [Side note: Join us June 4 in cities around the nation for the National Day of Civic Hacking!
National Day of Civic Hacking on June 4th, D.C. Edition The fourth installation of the National Day of Civic Hacking aims to be another stellar event, bringing together civic-minded innovators in cities across the nation under one big tent. Just as in years past, it will be powered by the passion of citizens to improve their communities, along with open government data and mentorship from groups like Code for America and numerous federal and local agencies.
Civic hackers are a special breed—their primary motivation is closely tied to the social issues closest to their hearts. Most attend hack-a-thons, engage in civic meetups, and show up at city hearings to champion their cause and push solutions at the societal, technology, and policy levels. On the technological front, creating civic city-based solutions has traditionally been unnecessarily difficult. Data issues range from the lack of open data access to the inconsistent interpretation of current data sets to the difficulty of using federal data, such as U.
The National Day of Civic Hacking was born when some of the nation’s leaders in civic engagement decided to rally around a common goal on one weekend. -Nicholas Skytland, NASA The National Day of Civic Hacking is a national community engagement event that will take place on June 6, 2015, in cities all around America. The initiative is a united effort to bring together a diverse group of concerned citizens to improve communities and the government which represents them.
Our fabulous colleague Jeanne Holm is ready for the #hackforchange events this weekend and summarized some tips, notes and links to resources on Data.gov. Great things will happen this weekend! Remember, if you hear about great uses of government data, let everyone know by tweeting #hackforchange or mention @usdatagov. The Data.gov team is organizing a webinar in a week, showcasing some of the best outcomes and hosting lightning talks by the developers and designers.
Do you want to build an application, product or business that uses Census Bureau data? There are opportunities to give feedback and get involved. Two years ago, the Census Bureau launched its application programming interface (API), giving developers access to a variety of high value data sets, including our flagship 2010 Census and American Community Survey five-year estimates. These estimates provide statistics for every neighborhood in the nation, allowing developers to create new tools to help better understand their communities and solve real world issues.
You should be on this list—the current federal government participants in the National Day of Civic Hacking. There are 15 agencies participating in the event, primarily in and around the Washington, D.C., area. This is a fantastic compilation of what agencies are doing, but it is not enough. We need more widespread participation across the country. If your office has a regional presence and has data or ideas for technical and design projects they’d like to contribute, this is a prime opportunity to dip in and see what it is like to work with people outside of government.
The National Day of Civic Hacking is actually a weekend. An awe-inspiring two days of collaborative work where coders, designers, writers, innovative thinkers, and data geeks get together to solve problems and build things for their communities. For the Challenge.gov community, this is a fantastic opportunity to get live, hands-on experience talking with and working next to people in a real-time hacking environment. If you’re thinking about running a competition around data sets or have an idea you want to float to developers, you can do it here first and see what feedback and traction you get, before committing to a full-fledged prize competition.
On June 1st and 2nd, more than 11,000 civic activists, technology experts, and entrepreneurs around the country came together for the National Day of Civic Hacking. Civic activists, technology experts, and entrepreneurs in 83 cities developed software to help others in their own neighborhoods and across the country. More than twenty federal agencies took part by submitting challenges for participants to tackle and opening up datasets for them to use.
The National Day of Civic Hacking is bringing together thousands of civic hackers on June 1st and 2nd. But what is a civic hacker, anyway? “Civic hackers” as we think about it for theNational Day of Civic Hacking are technologists, civil servants, designers, entrepreneurs, engineers – anybody – who is willing to collaborate with others to create, build, and invent to address challenges relevant to our neighborhoods, our cities, our states and our country.