The City of Houston will host its third annual citywide Hackathon at the Houston Technology Center on May 16-17. The Hackathon promotes collaboration across government and technology communities, engages Houston’s citizen technologists to improve government and provides a platform for citizens to share innovative ideas with City decision makers. More than 200 software developers, data analysts and other civic-minded innovators developed creative and useful solutions to City and community issues at last year’s Hackathon.
“The Hackathon is a great way for Houstonians with technology skills to give back to the community,” said Jeff Reichman, one of the Hackathon organizers. “Our city is responsible for so many things. Whether you are interested in public health, animal control, libraries or potholes, there is a place for you at the Hackathon.”
The City and its nonprofit partner, Open Houston, an open data advocacy group, are engaging community members to brainstorm and program potential projects and useful datasets for this third annual Hackathon. Budget Bootcamp, a visualization of the City’s budget, and Nuisance Tracker, a map that allows citizens to view code enforcement violations and the actions taken by the City to remediate, are useful tools that began as project ideas from past Hackathons.
“We’re focused on outcomes,” Mayor Annise Parker said. “Everyone involved has worked very hard to define high-impact projects that can be completed in a weekend. We want to use these applications right away.” In her continued commitment to transparency and government accountability, Mayor Annise Parker instituted an Open Data policy and this website, to allow for greater public access to City data last fall, making this spring an opportune time for this year’s Hackathon.
We’re really excited that Houston is taking this historic step towards liberating data,” Mayor Pro-Tem and Hackathon Co-Chair Ed Gonzalez said. “Hackathons are a great way to engage citizens and start a dialogue between City officials and our talented and innovative start-up communities. I’m incredibly proud of the momentum that we’ve built over these last 3 years and can’t wait to see the impressive results that I know will come out of this event.”
The Hackathon is a free 24-hour event. The Houston Chapter of Girl Develop It will be offering a free Intro to HTML/CSS class on Saturday, May 16th, and there will be presentations by city officials and community partners to identify challenges and discuss potential solutions.
The City is expecting a strong turnout from citizens, corporate participants and members of the Houston technology and start-up community.
Further details about the City of Houston Annual Hackathon, as well as registration information, are available at www.houstonhackathon.com.