This past weekend, more than 11,000 people in 83 cities across America participated in 95 open data hacking events as part of the National Day of Civic Hacking. This huge turnout is an unmistakable mark of the growing interest and enthusiasm of American innovators in applying their tech skills for social good.
At events across the country, participants in Civic Hacking Day were set loose on open government data, building tools, apps, and solutions that can help address challenges faced by communities across America and form the basis of products and companies that contribute to our economy.
The Obama Administration has long recognized the power and potential of this kind of data-driven innovation. That’s why President Obama last month announced historic steps to unleash government data as fuel for innovation and job creation, including an Executive Order requiring newly generated government data to be made available in open, machine-readable formats, while ensuring privacy and security.
As part of the National Day of Civic Hacking, agencies and offices from across the Federal government, including the White House, identified top priority challenges and hosted events to convene civic hackers ready to take action. Innovators ranging in age from 11-years-old to senior citizens—empowered with Federal, State, and local machine-readable data sets—collaborated on exciting new ideas, innovations, and tools.
In Washington, DC, one team worked with the U.S. Department of Labor to design a system that connects women veterans with important available resources, such as childcare, transportation, and support for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In Philadelphia, another team tackled EPA’s Safe Water Challenge with a project designed to display for users all of the drinking-water safety violations in a given county. Another DC-based team worked with a representative from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to use a massive open CFPB dataset to create meaningful visualizations that help shed light on the scope of consumer complaints filed with the agency. And that’s just scratching the surface of the breadth of ideas and solutions emerging from Civic Hacking Day.
We’re proud of these innovators, and eager to recognize their achievements. Stay tuned for an upcoming opportunity to help us identify and celebrate these Civic Hackers, who are harnessing their tech skills and coding savvy for the good of all Americans.
Brian Forde is Senior Advisor to the U.S. Chief Technology Officer for Mobile and Data Innovation
Nick Sinai is the Deputy U.S. Chief Technology Officer