Hackathons and Coding Jams – Great events coming up for civic minded coders and others!


The hot topic at the big broadband conference in St Paul last week was infrastructure – people learning and talking about infrastructure. But – my favorite sideline at the broadband conference this week was the talk about applications, open data and getting citizens involved through applications, open data and access to technology, which includes broadband.

One of the Cool Tools we showed at the conference was the Office of the Secretary of State’s test Socrata site. It features open data sets in a format that is very user friendly. Open data and open data sets are the underpinning of many civic apps. The example I often use is Adopt-a-Hydrant, which maps hydrants in a city and allows residents to claim a hydrant in their area. The new foster parents for the hydrant takes on responsibility for making sure the hydrant is accessible (aka shovels around the hydrant.) This is only possible because the data set on hydrant location is open an accessible. (In fact, I read recently that the County Boards of both Hennepin County and Ramsey County will be adopting resolutions on Tuesday, February 11 to make their public geospatial data freely and openly available, which is great news for advocates of open data.)

Access to open data, coding skills, an idea and citizens who are ready to lean in can be the tools to making technology increase and improve civic action and citizen involvement in community needs and help capitalize on the many hands make light work approach that has helped with other technology projects such as crowdsourcing and crowdfunding. Hackfests (aka hackathons or code jams) are events to promote the idea of technology for public good. They are real events in real locations that gather the tools mentioned about and provide the space, bandwidth and support to create apps to improve life in a community. Two such events are coming up…

Capitol Code: An Open Data Jam is coming Saturday, February 22 to CoCo in Uptown.

Hosted by the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State, Capitol Code will be a gathering passionate and engaged citizens given the opportunity to explore and drive solutions using public data from the Secretary of State, including (but not limited to) data and election results, as well as information from the office’s Business Services Division.

This will be a fun and enriching event where teams of community leaders, developers, public servants, designers and government officials will turn ideas into action, for the good of the citizens of Minnesota. This will be an extremely active day focused on doing, not just talking.

Register for Capitol Code today and be a part of realizing the future of open data in Minnesota: capitolcode.mn.gov and follow on Twitter for updates at @MNSecofState, @CapitolCode, and #CapitolCode.

We’re also holding a pre-event Ideation Jam, Wednesday February 12 at SoMakers at DevJam Studios. From 5:30-7:30 we’ll hear from some of the agencies that will be supplying data, meet your fellow Capitol Coders and begin brainstorming project ideas for the big event. You can indicate in your registration whether you can make it.

Red Hot Hack April 26-27 – Make it a Weekend Getaway!

Hosted by Red Wing Ignite:

  • Create applications that make use of Gig connectivity (YES – a Gig in Red Wing!!)
  • Come ready to jump in no matter what stage you’re at fresh idea or nearly finished project
  • Can’t code? That’s OK all skills are needed
  • Expand your relationships and networks.

We’re working with team, organizations and individuals from Red Wing, the Twin Cities and beyond!

Learn more: http://www.redwingignite.org/