Code for Tulsa, and the TU Student ACM organization worked together for a weekend of civic hacking at this year’s CodeAcross event, hosted by Code for America (full list of hosts, sponsors, and producers, here and news coverage, here). The event spanned two days, two locations (FabLab Tulsa and the Mayo Village SAC at TU), and featured a presentation at the end of the weekend, for the student groups to show off the projects that they worked on. It’s an impressive list:
- puncutil – A web app that scrapes the city council live agenda, and notifies via text message when your item of interest is on the live TV stream.
- CfT Badges – A platform for awarding badges for participating in events and contributing to Code for Tulsa (project on github)
- Lavoratr – A web app for identifying and rating bathrooms, mostly for the TU campus, but due to using OpenStreetMap and other tools, can be used world-wide. (project on github)
Students and Code for Tulsa members also collaborated on the Civic Ninjas‘ Healthgeist project, a version of the Sunlight Foundation’s Sitegeist tool, focused on giving an individual a rating of health, based on location, by taking in to account several sources of public health data (code and wiki – https://github.com/CivicNinjas/SitegeistHealth). The group also started work on a collection of tools, documentation, and sample code for working with local published datasets, called open tulsa data tools.
Non-programmers were also given an opportunity to contribute, and learn about open data technologies. TulsaNow volunteers met to talk about tools to engage more citizens in public meetings such as those for the planning department, city council, and neighborhood associations. Several Code for Tulsa members also contributed to the Open Data Census (…as of this writing, Tulsa ranks #9 of all cities surveyed. not bad!).
The biggest benefit was getting TU students exposed to the world of civic hacking, as well as development with web apps and the APIs that allow them to be built. Many of these students are freshman, and we hope they’ve caught the bug and will continue to be active in the coming years.