Austinites Hacking for Change
What began in 2013 as a response to the White House call for more local engagement in civic hacking has expanded three times in one short year to be Austin’s largest and most widely beneficial civic and social good hackathon. Bringing together nearly 200 technologists and social innovations, ATX Hack for Change has facilitated the creation of over two dozen social good and civic applications and digital projects that continue to provide meaningful impact for Austinites across the city.
National Day of Civic Hacking like you’ve never seen it before…
…featuring offices and engagement from the City of Austin, non-profit leaders, and aspiring activists coming together with hack-ready ideas.
What a weekend!
ATX Hack for Change 2014 is over, but the projects and many of the teams are still going strong. We were immensely impressed by how much got done in one weekend (exceeding even our very high expectations!) but we are even more impressed by the passion of the hackers who are continuing to work on their projects.
A total 17 projects worked to complete their goal, and of those 16 presented at the end of the weekend; here’s a little sample of those:
The Austin Center for Design teamed up with Texas Food Bank Network and the Capital Area Food Bank to transform food stamp use data (called the SNAP program) into a meaningful website that helps visualize who is eligible and not participating in the program while simultaneously dispelling myths about food stamps by revealing an accurate depiction of SNAP users.
Austin’s resources for lost pets are convoluted and difficult to use, and unclaimed lost pets take up valuable shelter space. The Pet Alerts team repurposed the real-time data from the other resources into a responsive, intuitive interface that also offers email or SMS alerts when a new animal fitting the description of your lost pet enters the shelter.
MetroRappid for Android
Aiming to fix the lack of an Android app for MetroRapid and MetroRail services, the team reverse-engineered CapMetro’s mobile app and ended up with an Android app that provides the sleekness and usability of Google Maps and other popular transit apps with real-time data unique to CapMetro. They also scooped up our Audience Favorite prize!
Frustrated by the difficult and cumbersome Austinites face when accessing information about local elections, this team created ATX Votes, an online resource for information about Austin elections and the candidates running in them. They continue to develop this site in the lead up to Austin’s November council election.
Urban Patchwork has been working to connect locals with locally grown food and community gardens for over a year. Their hack team built them a robust, new website and a handy map of the food-growing resources and community across Austin.
Hackers working with Texas Appleseed built a secure digital framework for youths exiting the foster care system to store and access their vital documents (birth certificate, social security card, etc.). Currently, when foster children “age out” of the system, they receive their documents in paper form, leaving these important papers vulnerable to loss or damage.
GENaustin is a local nonprofit that helps girls navigate the trials of puberty and girlhood. Hackers built an online forum for volunteers and organizers to communicate in a secure environment and created a map for potential volunteers to find the most convenient GENaustin location.
[freespace] is a child of 2013’s National Day of Civic Hacking in San Francisco. The idea is to turn donated spaces into vibrant community areas. The success of the idea led to this year’s project, creating a website and digital tool to connect the people with space with the people that need space.
Selected participating organizations:
Hacking for change doesn’t happen just once a year. Join our mailing list for notifications from Open Austin on how you can continue hacking it forward. We’ll also keep you up to date on project development opportunities for the 2015 ATX Hack for Change.