Celebrating the Second Annual National Day of Civic Hacking

Next month, for the second year in a row, civic activists, technology experts, and entrepreneurs around the world will gather together for the National Day of Civic Hacking. By combining their expertise with new technologies and publicly released data, participants hope to build tools that help others in their own neighborhoods and across the globe.

We’re excited to support this event which will take place on May 31 – June 1, 2014.

The National Day of Civic Hacking is an opportunity for software developers, technologists, and entrepreneurs to collaborate and create innovative solutions—using publicly-released data, code, and technologies—to tackle pressing challenges and improve our communities and the governments that serve them.

Last year more than 11,000 innovators from the private-sector, non-profits, and Federal, State and local governments worked together to hack on projects—95 civic hacking events took place in 83 cities including Austin, Baltimore, Denver, Louisville, New Orleans, San Francisco, and even here at the White House. Several of these projects were recognized by the White House at a Champions of Change for Civic Hacking event, including:

  • Technology-Enabled Volunteers Curbing Hunger and Food Waste: In Austin, Texas, the founder of Keep Austin Fed worked with a team developers at a National Day of Civic Hacking event to create a website and electronic volunteer management system that allows its program to distribute food in Austin to those in need.
  • Crowd-Powered Conflict Mediation: In New Orleans, Louisiana, “Stop Beef” was built as a conflict-resolution app to connect mediators to resolve street conflicts without violence, ultimately seeking to reduce the number of murders in the city. 
  •  Search and Rescue App for Disaster Relief: In Tulsa, Oklahoma the Open Search and Rescue web app was developed by civic hackers to help improve the effectiveness of urban search and rescue operations through an online search area tracker and task force notification system to prevent duplication of efforts and help first responders identify areas of most need in the wake of a disaster. 

As President Obama has said, “In this democracy, we the people recognize that this government belongs to us, and it’s up to each of us and every one of us to make it work better… We all have a stake in government success—because the government is us."

The Federal Government also has some great resources that participants in the National Civic Day of Hacking can use, including:

  • Data.gov, the central site to find U.S. government data, which has thousands of data sets across topics such as health, energy, education, public safety, and more.
  • Challenge.gov, the central site to find important government challenges for public collaboration.

We encourage you to join the movement and participate in the National Day of Civic Hacking. If you’re a local civic innovator, rally your community group to host a hackathon. The White House will be hosting our own hackathon around the We the People petitions API later this year.

If you’re a policymaker, identify which goals could be addressed with open data and technology tools. If you’re a local government official, don’t miss out on this opportunity to make a positive impact on your town or city.

You can learn more about the National Day of Civic Hacking at: http://www.hackforchange.org/.

Brian Forde is Senior Advisor to the U.S. Chief Technology Officer for Mobile and Data Innovation

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