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Code Across Austin V: Civic Hack Summit / Sat, Feb 28

Date: Sat, Feb 28, 2015
Registration: 9:30 – 10:00 am
Time: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Location: The Iron Yard, 3601 South Congress Ave, Bldg C, AustinTX 78704  (map)

The event is free, but seating is limited and advance registration is required: REGISTER NOW

Feb 27 update: the event program is available  here .

Feb 23 update: added registration hours, 9:30 – 10:00 am. Updated map link to show facility location.

Interested in helping us make this event a success?: Call for Volunteers

The Civic Hack Summit will bring together local developers, designers, project managers, government staff, public policy experts, and citizen advocates to launch a new wave of community-developed civic technology projects for Austin.

At this one-day event, we will explore a number of themes and community needs. The goal is to identify solution and formulate project plans. The projects we initiate here will be developed throughought the year, through events such as the ATX Hack for Change and Open Austin hack nights.

Some of the themes we’d like to explore include:

  • Development and Land Use
  • Transportation
  • Broadband and Digital Opportunities
  • Health and Social Services
  • Sustainability
  • Civic Engagement
  • Crime and Justice

In the morning sessions, local subject-matter experts will brief us on some of the challenges in our community, and help identify some interesting open data and technology opportunities. In the afternoon, we’ll break into workgroups, identify solutions we want to build, and initiate plans for hack projects.

We need non-coders. We need your interest and domain knowledge to help identify the issues we’d like to take on, and what the solutions will look like.

We need coders. We need your expertise to identify technology opportunities and develop architectures for these solutions.

It’s the hack before the hack. If you’ve got interest, skills, and passion for solving community problems with innovative technology solutions, we need your help.

Please re-visit this page periodically. We’ll be adding more information as details develop.

The event is free and open to the public. It is conducted as part of the national “Code Across” weekend, sponsored by Code for America. “Code Across Austin” was launched in 2012 by visiting Code for America fellows. Now produced by Open Austin, the “Civic Hack Summit” will be our fifth “Code Across Austin” event.

 

Presented by:
Open_Austin_Banner_400x80.png
City of AustinAustinGO-70x80Austin Monitor logo

 

Sponsored by:
Google
Socrata
 Rackspace
The Iron Yard logo Code for America Brigade

 

Community supporters:

Open Gov & Civic Tech Meetup, Feb 23

Date: Mon, Feb 23, 2014
Time: 6:45 – 8:45 pm
Location: Terrazas Branch Library, 1105 E. Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX, 78702 (map)
Calendar: link

Invited Guest: Sharla Chamberlain, City of Austin, Telecommunications and Regulatory Affairs
Topic: Data to Drive Digital Innovation

The City of Austin envisions a community in which every Austin resident has access to the resources and knowledge needed to fully participate in our increasingly digital society. We are working to build a transparent and data-driven informational portal to visualize available resources, identify unmet needs, get information about digital opportunities directly to residents, and learn more about the barriers residents face to access and literacy. Tools and services like website design, interactive mapping, spatial and statistical analysis, database management, graphics, and user interface enhancement will be key to building this portal.

The meetup location is easily accessed by public transportation and has plentiful parking.

Open Austin hosts a monthly meet-up, to discuss local open government and civic technology issues. Our meet-ups are free and open to the public.

PetAlerts lost pets app released for public testing

When a pet goes missing, it is one of the most distressing experiences a person can have, and there are more questions than answers – where do I look, what should I do, who should I call, and what’s going to happen to my pet? The chances are good that your pet will end up at a shelter, but the infrastructure around notifying pet owners in the community about pet intakes at shelters is currently limited.

Austin has been committed to being a no-kill city since 2011, and while this is a tremendous feat, it puts a lot of stress on the shelters harboring lost pets. From the city perspective, every lost pet is taking sorely needed space in overcrowded shelters – the sooner an animal can be returned home, the more space will be available for additional intakes, and the easier it is for Austin to preserve its no-kill status.

With little infrastructure and an already limited budget, shelters needed an answer. Open Austin has stepped up to help. What originally started as an ATX Hack for Change weekend hackathon project, PetAlerts is now being released for the community at large.

PetAlerts is a web app that allows users to search Austin shelter intakes for their pet, and to subscribe for notifications of new intakes matching their search via email or text message. The beta version only supports pets taken in at the Austin Animal Center, but the app was built with the intention of adding additional sources of information once beta is complete.

In the future, we hope to provide a resource for people to submit lost and found pets to classifieds, search databases for adoptable pets, and get more detailed shelter / location information. Ideally, this app will become the single resource for pets and shelters in the community – with this is mind, we’ve kept the code open source, the app free to use, and the direction of the project open to the public. It’s an app intended to service the community, and we welcome all community participation to make it as useful and ubiquitous as possible.

Obviously, we hope no pet owner will ever have to suffer the stress of losing their pet, but it can and does happen. When pets go missing, we will be there to help reunite them with their people as quickly as possible.

To make great use of this app, visit http://pet-alerts.open-austin.org/

We’d love your feedback! Send your bug report using our form,

Open Gov & Civic Tech Meetup, Jan 26

Date: Mon, Jan 26, 2014
Time: 6:45 – 8:45 pm
Location: Terrazas Branch Library, 1105 E. Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX, 78702 (map)
Calendar: link

Invited Guest: Kerry O’Connor, City of Austin, Chief Innovation Officer
Topic: City of Austin Open Data Initiative

The City of Austin has enacted an open government policy, and the City Manager has issued an open data directive. Late last year, the City Manager created a high-level board to execute on an open data program.

Kerry O’Connor, the city’s Chief Innovation Officer, participates on that board. She will give an update on the city’s open data initiatives, and discuss plans for the coming months.

The meetup location is easily accessed by public transportation and has plentiful parking.

Open Austin hosts a monthly meet-up, to discuss local open government and civic technology issues. Our meet-ups are free and open to the public.

Open Gov & Civic Tech Meetup, Dec 15

Date: Mon, Dec 15, 2014
Time: 6:45 – 8:45 pm
Location: Terrazas Branch Library, 1105 E. Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX, 78702 (map)
Calendar: link

Topic: Open Austin / Advancing Open Gov & Open Data 2015

We will not have a guest speaker this month. Instead, we’ll use the December meetup to identify our key objectives for bringing more open data and technology to the City of Austin in 2015.

We’ll have a facilitated discussion how we should focus on for our policy and hacking efforts in 2015. There is an immense opportunity before us to push open data and open government to the next level. We want your input — and involvement — to help make that happen.

The meetup location is easily accessed by public transportation and has plentiful parking.

Open Austin hosts a monthly meet-up, to discuss local open government and civic technology issues. Our meet-ups are free and open to the public.

Nov. 4 Election Results

Travis County has posted results from the November 4 election here. Races where no candidate reached 50%, the top two candidates will proceed to a run-off election.

The run-off election will be held Tuesday, November 16.

We surveyed all of the candidates for their position on open government and civic technology issues. See our candidate page for information on the survey. Continue reading

Open Gov & Civic Tech Meetup, Nov 17

Date: Mon, Nov 17, 2014
Time: 6:45 – 8:45 pm
Location: Terrazas Branch Library, 1105 E. Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX, 78702 (map)
Calendar: link

Invited Guest: Robert Brizendine, Austin Animal Center

Austin Animal Center runs the largest no-kill animal shelter in the United States, providing shelter to more than 18,000 animals each year and animal protection services to all of Austin and Travis County. The Austin Animal Center is an open-intake facility where lost and surrendered animals from all of Travis County in need of shelter are accepted regardless of age, health, species or breed. The goal of the Austin Animal Center is to place all adoptable animals in forever homes.

Robert Brizendine, Research Analyst at the Austin Animal Center will talk about automation tools the animal center uses, open data they currently provide, and future plans.

The meetup location is easily accessed by public transportation and has plentiful parking.

Open Austin hosts a monthly meet-up, to discuss local open government and civic technology issues. Our meet-ups are free and open to the public.

Press Release: Local Volunteers Release “Vote ATX” Voting Place Finder App

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Local Volunteers Release “Vote ATX” Voting Place Finder App

Austin, TX (October 22, 2014) – Local volunteers have released a free application that helps Austin area residents find the best place to vote. The application, Vote ATX, is available at http://voteatx.us

Travis County voters have many options for voting. The Vote ATX application tries to answer the simple question, “Where is the best place I can go vote right now?” The application is location and calendar aware, and helps identify available voting places – even mobile voting locations that move during the day.

The City of Austin has incorporated the Vote ATX technology to power the voting place finder on its election page at http://www.austintexas.gov/vote

The Vote ATX application was developed by volunteers at Open Austin, and is provided as a free public service. First released in 2012, this update includes 10-1 city council district support and a new visual design. The application incorporates open government data provided by Travis County and the City of Austin. Continue reading

Press Release: Austin Mayoral and City Council Candidates Respond on Civic Technology Issues

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Austin Mayoral and City Council Candidates Respond on Civic Technology Issues

Austin, TX (October 15, 2014) – Candidates for mayor and city council in the November 4, 2014 election have been surveyed about their positions relating to open government, open data, and civic technology. Their responses are now available online.

Open Austin, a grassroots civic-­advocacy group, created the questionnaire. Open Austin has surveyed candidates in every City of Austin municipal election since 2011. This year’s questionnaire included nine questions.

The questionnaire and responses are available to view on the Open Austin website at http://www.open­austin.org/atxelection

“Our candidate questionnaire is an important way for us to put these issues before the candidates,” Open Austin Chair Chip Rosenthal said. “We hope this is the start of a discussion to provide more open data and better online services in the city.” Continue reading

Open Gov & Civic Tech Meetup, Oct 20

Date: Mon, Oct 20, 2014
Time: 6:45 – 8:45 pm
Location: Terrazas Branch Library, 1105 E. Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX, 78702 (map)
Calendar: link

Invited Guest: Joe Iannello, VP & Chief Information Officer, Cap Metro

Nov 10 update: Joe’s slides are here (2MB PDF document).

Capital Metro already is publishing open data. They’ve also have embraced open data standards such as GTFS. Soon they will be rolling out a new advanced capability: real-time data for certain transit services. Continue reading