With the International Open Data Hackathon a little more the 2 weeks away a lot has happened.
On the organizing wiki people in over 50 cities in 21 countries and 4 continents have offered to organize local events. Open data sets that people can use have been posted to a specially created page, a few nascent app ideas have been shared, as has advice on how to run a hackathon. (on twitter, the event hashtag is #odhd)
In Vancouver, the local BarCamp will be taking place this weekend. I’m not in town, however, Aaron Gladders, local hacker with a ton of experience working with and opening up data sets, contacted me to let me know he’d like to do a planning session for the hackathon at Barcamp. If you’re in Vancouver I hope you can attend.
Why? Because this is a great opportunity. And it has lessons for the hackathons around the world.
I love it because it means people can share ideas and projects they would like to hack on, recruit others, as well as hear feedback about challenges, obstacles, alternative approaches, and think about all of this for two weeks before the hackathon. A planning session also has has an even bigger benefit. It means more people are likely to arrive on the day with something specific ready to work on. I want the hackathons to be social. But they can’t be exclusively so. It is important that we actually try to create some real products that are useful to us and/or our fellow citizens.
For those elsewhere in the world who are also thinking about December 4th I hope that some of us will start reaching out to one another and thinking about how we will spend the day. A few thoughts on this:
1. Take a look at the data sets that are out there before Dec 4th. People have been putting together a pretty good list here.
2. Localization. I think some of the best wins will be around localizing successful apps from other places. For example, I’ve been encouraging the team in Bangalore to consider localizing Michael Mulley’s OpenParliament.ca application (the source code for which is here). If you have an application you think others might want to localize, add it to the application page on the wiki. If there is an app out there you’d like to localize, write its author/developer team. Ask them if they might be willing to share the code.
3. Get together with 2-3 friends and come up with a plan. What do you want to accomplish on the 4th?
4. If you are looking for a project, let people know on the wiki, leave a twitter handle or some way for people with idea to contact you before the 4th.
Okay, that’s it for now. I’m really excited about how much progress we’ve made in a few short weeks. Ideally at the end of the 4th I’d love for some cities to be able to showcase some apps to the world that they’ve created. We have an opportunity to show the media, politicians, public servants, our fellow citizens, but most importantly, each other, just want is possible with open data.