Google-funded Code for America was in Austin Saturday for a codeathon using data accessible via the city’s data portal. I dropped by the geek chic coworking facility Conjunctured, where the codeathon was happening, and hung out long enough to get a sense of the projects the ~40 coders were tackling. Those included a Bike Accident and Route Safety app, an app for finding miscellaneous stuff around town, and a “garden dating” app (to help people who want a community garden find a space). What was missing? For at least one project (Find It), there were fewer sources of data than the developers would’ve liked. I realized that it’s not enough to bring coders together to create apps – we should also be cultivating data sources. A project to build databases and facilitate citizen input would be a logical complement to the various codeathons.
Two great events coming up this weekend in Austin, sponsored by EFF-Austin.
Friday, join us at NPO Camp – a Barcamp for Nonprofits and Techs. We had one of these several months ago, and it was a real blast! The idea here is to bring the nonprofit and technology communities together for a day and talk about the technical challenges the NPOs face, while educating the techs about that world. Last event, we had 200+ attendees forming into sessions and pods; all were lively. Greg Foster, our newest EFF-Austin board member, has done most of the legwork in organizing the event, with major production assistance from Maggie Duval, also a board member and producer of the annual Plutopia event during SXSW. Sign up here.
Saturday, coders and journalists come together to build innovative news applications at the Austin News Hackathon, cosponsored by EFF-Austin and the local Hacks Hackers chapter led by Cindy Royal. The day will begin with a presentation by Matt Stiles and Niran Babalola of the Texas Tribune, talking about some of the news apps they’ve been developing. Then teams will form to match ideas from journalists with technical expertise from the coders who are attending. These kinds of events are the future of journalism! This event also benefited from Maggie Duval’s production assistance. Sign up here.
Both events will be catered by Pick Up Stix of South Austin.