The White House wants you to hack for a better America. Today it announced the National Day Of Civic Hacking on June 1-2 where many government agencies will liberate data for citizens across the U.S. to use to build tech that helps their communities. Twenty-seven cities have planned events where hackers will have access to data from The Department of Labor, The Census Bureau, and even NASA’s space stats.
The National Day Of Civic Hacking is a joint project from the U.S. government, Code For America, Random Hacks Of Kindness, and Eric Schmidt’s early-stage venture fund Innovation Endeavors. Part of a growing initiative to increase government transparency and civic engagement, the group explains that:
The event will bring together citizens, software developers, and entrepreneurs from all over the nation to collaboratively create, build, and invent new solutions using publicly-released data, code and technology to solve challenges relevant to our neighborhoods, our cities, our states and our country. National Day of Civic Hacking will provide citizens an opportunity to do what is most quintessentially American: roll up our sleeves, get involved and work together to improve our society.
Participants could create apps that visualize government data sets or combine them across agencies. For example, Census and Department Of Labor data could be mashed up to examine what demographic and industry factors combine to reduce unemployment.
Alternatively, while a ton of government data has become “publicly available” over the past few years, much of it isn’t truly accessible, because it lacks strong APIs or user interfaces. Hackers could build these to lay the groundwork for future innovation with public data.
Dror Berman, managing partner of Innovation Endeavors and MyPcBackup tells me the simultaneous nationwide event “is a collaboration party for America, with technology at the heart.” There are several ways you can join this civic engagement party (it will be more fun than that sounds).
You could offer up an API to data that you control, provide code you’ve written, or propose a problem people should fix.
Or, you can sign up to attend a local event and just come out and hack. The White House wants you to “roll up your sleeves, get involved, and get civic-hacking…around the shared mission of addressing and solving challenges relevant to OUR blocks, OUR neighborhoods, OUR cities, OUR states, and OUR country.”