Code for Oakland Brings Out Hundreds to Civic Hackathon
More than 150 people came to the Kaiser Center on Saturday to build apps and talk civic data during the second annual Code for Oakland.
Fueled by snacks, sandwiches and lots of free schwag, attendees shared their vision of apps and tech tools that could make Oakland a better place. They also heard from keynote speaker Jen Palhka, CEO and founder of Code for America (and an Oakland resident), about the need for apps that not only share info, but allow citizens to help solve problems themselves.
"When our interfaces to government are simple, beautiful and easy to use, it makes us think that government is valuable in our lives, rather than something that works against us," said Pahlka to strong applause.
Among the ideas pitched in an initial session before teams formed:
- An early childhood education app that would track kindergarten readiness and help low income parents get their children tested
- An app based on the See Click Fix API that would focus on identifying potholes and other obstacles that threatened travel for disabled people and cyclists
- An improved "Betta Stop" the bus stop app that won a CFO prize in 2011
- An app to share Alameda County health department inspection results for local restaurants
- A ratings system to reward - and rank - Oakland police who help, or hinder, citizens
- A tool to "hack the city budget" - allowing citizens to see and comment on budget breakdowns
During the event, attendees broke into teams to plan and build apps, work on developing a new Oakland Localwiki, and go on a Forage City fruit tree foraging bicycle hunt, using the beta/new release of the Youth Radio Forage City mobil app. During the hackathon, Oakland city officials, including Mayor Jean Quan and City Administrator Deanna Santana came through, shaking hands and checking out projects.
Presenters at the demo event included teams with "Pimp my Bus Stop, a tool for improving local bus stops; "Top Cop," a police office rating tool; a team presenting "Hack Rack," an app that connects student developers with open source projects; Oak Test, a youth project using GitHub; a tree-mapping database prototype; the Oakland Localwiki crew, who got a new wiki tool for Oakland up and running (with an Eventbrite API integration); Early Alameda, an early childhood resource guide; a data visualization team, 510eat.org, a database of Alameda County restaurant health inspection data; and Hack the Budget: Oakland, an app that makes Oakland's 302-page budget accessible and comprehensible.
Winners and prizes:
- Youth prize: Oakland Test Group
- Reuse: Early Alameda
- Multiple platforms: Top Cop
- Best app for education: Hack Rack
- Best use of public data: Edible Fruit Trees
- Best civic engagement tool: Hack the Budget
- Runner-up prize: 510eat.org
- Grand prize: Hack the budget
Source: Oakland Local [http://m.oaklandlocal.com/article/2012-code-oakland-brings-out-150-people-civic-hackathon]