International Open Data Hackathon – 63 cities, 25 countries, 5 continents

and counting. Never could any of us have imagined that there would be so many stepping forward to organize an event in their cities.

The clear implication is that Open Data matters. To a lot of people.

To a lot of us.

If you are in the media, a politician or the civil service: pay attention. There are a growing number of people – not just computer programmers and hackers, but ordinary citizens – who’ve come to love and want to help build sites and applications like fixmystreet, wheredoesmymoneygo, or datamasher.

If you are planning to participate in a hackathon – I hope you’ll read the next part (and help continue grow the wiki).

I think, for the day – December 4th – we all really have three shared goals.

1. Have fun

2. Help foster local supportive and diverse communities of people who advocate for open data

3. Help raise awareness of open data, why it matters, by building sites and applications

I’m confident that the first two will happen, but as I said in an earlier post… it is important that we have artifacts at the end of the day to share with the world.

In pursuit of that goal, I continue to believe that one of the easiest things we can do is localize cool projects that have happened in other jursidictions. For example, a team in Bangalore, India as well as a team in Vancouver & Victoria, Canada are contemplating porting to their respective jurisdictions. It’s a great way to get a huge win and a new, useful, site up and running in a (relatively) short period of time.

I write this because I’m thinking there must be tons of interesting and engaging open data applications out there. If you run such an application… (I’m especially looking at you Sunlight Foundation, Open Knowledge Foundation, MySociety & others…) and you think people in other jurisdictions might want to localize them for their country, state or city… then I’d like you to consider doing the following:

Post to the Apps page of the wiki:

  • the project name,
  • link to the source code repository,
  • any documentation,
  • the various tasks you think will be involved in localizing it
  • things that non-coders can do to advance the project (like research, documentation, graphics, copy text for websites, etc…)
  • and some (very) rough senses of scope and timelines

(Note, I’m hoping to throw a template up shortly, but sadly, right now, I’m hoping on a red-eye flight so can’t do it… with luck tomorrow sometime I’ll delete this text and have added an example like For now Victoria and Vancouver have the beginnings of what I’m thinking of on their wiki pages)

Nothing would be cooler than having open data apps ported around world, helping spread citizen engagement, democratic accountability and fun with them.

I know there are some emails flying around about connecting cities for demos as suggested on the opendata hackathon website. Hope to have more on that soon as well.

Also, if you do think that media or local officials will attend and you’d like to brief them on opendata, I have some people at the world bank who’ve been helping launch and expand their open data portal who might be willing to help engage and explain why it is important to such people. Could be nice to have the additional help. Up to you. But feel free to let me know if there is interest.

Finally, if you are running a hackathon, please reach out and say hi. I’d love to hear from you.


Very, very excited.

14 thoughts on “International Open Data Hackathon – 63 cities, 25 countries, 5 continents

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  3. Brendan Howley

    Hi David. Do ping me ASAP. We need to connect about our collective intelligence engine and a nano Open Data project here in Stratford I’m headmanning via the local public library/b

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