Code Across America: A Week of Civic Innovation

Originally posted on

From February 24 through March 4, passionate citizens around the country will come together to “Code Across America” — to make their cities even better. In over a dozen cities, there will be hackathons to build civic apps, “brigades” to deploy existing apps, unconferences to plan for the year ahead, and meetups to strengthen the community. Five of these cities are CityCamp cities. Check out details of what’s going on and where it’s happening below.


When: Simultaneous event, February 25; Ongoing, February 24 – March 4
What: Activities ranging from hackathons and app deployments to unconference sessions
Who: Urbanists, Civic Hackers, City Reps, Developers, Designers, etc — anyone with the passion to make their city better
How: Bring together the city government with a supporting community group, organization, or business, and reach out to a broad range of participants with diverse backgrounds and skills


What’s a “Brigade” event? This year, Code for America is launching the CfA Brigade to bring together groups of civic hackers in cities across the country, focused on customizing and deploying civic apps locally. These Brigade events will be the kick off: each city will identify an app to focus on, customizing it for their needs, standing it up, and getting it in the hands of users by the end of the day.

How do I participate? Find your city on the map above or the list to the right and join the event there. If you don’t see your city, then host your own event using our guide, and if you can’t make it happen on February 25, don’t worry, Code Across America events are happening all week long, February 24 – March 4. Contact us if you need some help or want more information.

How to get your city to pass an open government policy

Raleigh, NC—City Council adopts open source policy

On Tuesday, February 7, the Raleigh City Council passed an Open Source Government Resolution, unanimously, promoting the use of open source software and open data. The resolution includes language that puts open source software on the same playing field as proprietary software in the procurement process. It also establishes an open data catalog to house data available from the city.

Raleigh isn’t the first city to pass an open government policy. But it may be the first to provide a blueprint that can help other cities pass their own open initiatives more quickly. And it’s no surprise that there was influence and support from CityCampers in Raleigh. Continue reading

CityCamp Council & Code Across America

CityCamp Council

This coming Tuesday we’re having a kickoff meeting of organizers for the world CityCamp Council planned for this year. I’m stoked that we’ll have 12 participants that include representatives from all 4 countries where there have been CityCamps: US, UK, Russia, and Canada. Three members of the org team are from government.

Code Across America

From 24 February through 4 March CityCampers, Open Gov-ers, Code for America fellows, and other civic-minded hackers will participate in a national week of civic innovation. We’ll deploy apps, liberate data, and share the skills we need to build a civic web.

Look for an event near you:

View Code Across America in a larger map

Five organizing tips for a successful CityCamp

government and citizens

Image credits:

Original appearance on

Joining the open source (and CityCamp) movement has been one of the best experiences of my life. I’ve been involved with open source for over a decade, but I never got involved in a community project in any significant way–until I found CityCamp. I haven’t submitted a single line of code, but I’m able to bring my project management and community-building skills to the table. That’s important because it highlights the fact that there is more to open source contributions than writing code. Continue reading

CityCampHNL Hackathon – Jan. 20-21, 2012, McCoy Pavilion

Join us for the CityCampHNL Hackathon on Jan 20-21, 2012 at the McCoy Pavilion at Ala Moana Beach Park. Be a part of Honolulu’s Open Data Initiative, register here.

CityCampHNL Hackathon Rules

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We’ve been asked the question: What are the rules for the hackathon and what will the judging be based on? Granted as we try to objectify a process that is somewhat subjective we may not please everyone. These rules are meant to be inclusive and provide the means for broad participation:

  • Apps need to have some connection to Hawaii.
  • Apps can be based on open source software from other cities but need to be customized for Hawaii.
  • Teams can be from anywhere but need to present at CityCampHNL Hackathon to qualify for prizes.
  • Teams can be individuals, company employees, City employees or a combination thereof.
  • Teams can form now (i.e. immediately), before the hackathon event.
  • Work on applications and ideas can start now but will conclude at 3:00pm on Jan. 21, 2012.
  • There is no restriction on team size, but teams need to be clear who is on their team.
  • If code used is open source it should be made available to the open source community.
  • If code is 100% proprietary to the team it can remain proprietary.
  • Mobile apps, web apps, APIs and idea strategies (e.g. work on API ordnance) will be judged equally.
  • Mashups with external webservices (like Flickr, Google Maps, etc) are allowed.
  • Teams will have 10 minutes to present their apps.
  • Judging will be based working prototype, user interface, depth of concept, impact of application.

For those concerned about prize money. The prize money is from CityCampHNL sponsors. The City & County of Honolulu is not involved with any financial transaction between CityCampHNL and the respective teams nor has any financial responsibility with any potential awardees.

As always we welcome your comments and suggestions. Most of all we encourage your ongoing participation. Mahalo!

CityCamp Honolulu recap: Restoring trust in government

Originally posted at

The theme that emerged from the first CityCamp Honolulu, held on December 3 (the 17th CityCamp held worldwide), was restoring citizen confidence in their government. In a very collaborative and participatory atmosphere, organizers looked to citizens to generate ideas for the City of Honolulu’s upcoming Code for America project and to harness the power of design thinking to rapidly prototype ten topics generated during the unconference. Continue reading

CityCampers: Enter and vote on the 2011 GovFresh Awards

2011 GovFresh Awards

Every day, tech-minded citizens across the country are doing good by their communities, literally geeking out about how they can help re-define the relationship government has with its citizens, using technology as a democratic tool to collaboratively empower both.

So much is happening in the civic technology community – website redesigns, new websites, open data initiatives, apps, camps, developer contests, hackathons and more – it’s hard to get a perspective on or truly appreciate the collective work of these dot-dogooders both inside and outside government.

That’s why we created the 2011 GovFresh Awards.

It’s time to recognize and honor all that’s been accomplished this year.

It’s time to say thank you.

Here are the categories. Start entering and start voting.

This weekend: Aloha and open government at CityCamp Honolulu

Originally posted at

The City of Honolulu is calling all citizens to join the open government movement on December 3 and to prove the value of government data as a platform. They hope to entice citizens to shape the future of their city by identifying open government opportunities, discussing technology, and formulating solutions. Civic groups, designers, “govies,” techies, developers, and more are encouraged to participate. The organizers of CityCamp Honolulu are excited to host this open government unconference in preparation for a 2012 Code for America project. Continue reading

Request for Comments

Open Data Labels

source: Wikipedia

CityCampSF organizer Adriel Hampton is working legislation to come up with a legal definition of open data in California. The definition will be used as a test for a requirement for the government to publish according to the definition. Note Adriel’s comments in the discussion. He specifically has been asked to address phrase like “commonly used Web search applications and commonly used software.” Also, there is a challenge to the no-cost claim. Please lend your expertise by commenting here: