CityCampSF Outcomes

CityCampSF_Hackathon_2011.jpg

What happened at CityCampSF Hackathon 2011 on Saturday and Sunday? Lots of great discussion about technology and open government, folks meeting for the first time over pizza, Red Bull and Peanut M&Ms, and some civic hacking on online lobbyists filings, timber harvest plans and text notifications for public meeting agenda keyword alerts. CityCampSF participants:

  • Discovered some very interesting tidbits in the SF Ethics database, including a company that pays the City's biggest lobbying firm $3,800 a month, while the firm reports zero contacts with officials since Jan. 2010; EthicsConceptualDataModel.png
  • Made a polite and official request for a complete raw data set of the entire lobbyist database, since the online version is a minor disaster (biggest recipient of lobbyist political contributions? "Not Applicable, Not Applicable"; third biggest? "NA, NA"). See my screenshots for more odd results in the SF Ethics lobbyists data display. Image here is from Ted Louie, looking at how an app might connect open data from various city agencies responsible for storing development, contracting, lobbying, political donation and legislative data;
  • Built a demo app for public hearing agenda item alerts by text message. Interested in local liquor licenses or development projects in your neighborhood? With a little more municipal legislative open government (the tech is already in place), you can get a text every time those items are up for a vote;
  • Discovered that forest timber harvest plans include geospatial-data rich MXD format files, then are turned into scanned and unsearchable PDFs before the state publishes them on an obscure FTP server;
  • Built an interactive map of pending clear cuts and forest thinning in Northern California with Google Maps and research from the THP Tracking Center. See the great work by Granicus CTO Javier Muniz at forestsforever.heroku.com
Thanks to everyone who attended, and especially to our great volunteers and support and participation from Granicus, Tropo, Forests Forever and CitiReport! It was also great to have reporters from techPresident, The Oakland Tribune and The Fog City Journal sharing their thoughts and learning from the CityCamp participants.
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