Civic Hacking at Minnebar

Minnebar 8 (2013)

12:00 - Calhoun - Civic hacking


Bull Bushey

  • open something...
  • employee of

What is civic hacking?

  • Not hacking into government servers! :-)
  • E-gov
  • Neat Obama/Fairey-style "Yes We Code"
  • Open science (

What is open data?

  • Yin to civic hacking yang
  • Civic hacking is hard to do without open data
  • 4 levels of open data
    • legal access (do I have the right as a citizen to get information? MN chapter 13 data practices)
    • equitable access (free or $$?, how long to get it?) (I have the right, reasonable cost, reasonable timeframe.)
    • structured access (what do I get? just a PDF? or print?)
    • real time access (== "there should be APIs")

What is happening around the USA?

  • taken off in last 5 years
  • citycamp unconference
  • plug for e-democracy
  • code for america, SF non-profit, 4 years old, focal point for civic hacking, four programs
    • fellowship, brigade, peer network, accelerator
  • sample projects
    • adopt a hydrant (Boston, shovel out after snows)
    • open 311, see click fix (report problems to governments) (open 311 is an open standard for this kind of messages)
    • - repository for data sets (also, "the data hub", also "DKAN" using Drupal)
    • see projects on code for america site

What is happening in MSP?

  • open twin cities, with partners code for america and
  • adopt a hydrant twin cities is up
  • free geek twin cities every 4th tues PM
  • open data day hackathon (late feb 2013) (first in MN?) 20 people, four applications
  • upcoming
    • visualizing neighborhoods "hackathon for good" may 25th at Minneapolis central library
    • national day of civic hacking Jun 1-2 at DevJam Studios "Hack for MN" (see Colin ?)
    • citycampminnesota - fall 2013 - unconference - planning stages

Audience Questions & Comments

12:25 PM question re: "exposing government corruption" A: we have too much low-hanging fruit. City of Minneapolis rec'd rating "D-" from Sunlight Foundation. We have a progressive state, but not up to speed on sharing data. Trying to get more data sets made available in MN & MSP. How can Minneapolis/MN catch up with coasts? Open data is an issue in Chicago.

12:30 PM question "lots of public data, becomes sensitive if put together" Answer: "data practices act" - Can I get snow emergency email address list? New legislation for privacy classifications of data... what should or shouldn't be published? We want more open data, but sometimes it doesn't make sense. Reference to case law from journalism.

12:34 PM Audience: Government Technology Magazine good source

12:34 PM note some states & cities are starting to adopt EU-style personal data rules, more restrictive than historically in US

12:35 PM Q: What are most popular tools? A: Agnostic, prefer to prototype or build quickly. Whatever people want to do, we will help.

12:38 PM Flyers going around the room for

12:39 PM All of these organizations need donations and/or corporate sponsorship.