Civic Hacking Committee
Committees are voluntary groups, formed by members in order to achieve certain goals.
To join this committee, contact the committee chairperson. See Rules and Policies#Committees for more information.
Civic Hacking is the process of improving your local community through clever use of technology. It frequently involves computer programming, such as building new web and mobile apps that inform people about civic matters or help them communicate better with their local government. It can also involve mapping and GIS projects, physical infrastructure such helping a community garden set up a solar power system. There are annual, nation-wide civic hacking events like the National Day of Civic Hacking where groups like this one coordinate their efforts in a day-long hackathon. As you can see, we are using the word "hacking" in its original meaning within engineering and technical community, as a word to describe the clever use of technology to solve problems. The same sense in which it is used in the word "hackerspace". We are definitely not using the more recent Hollywood/media inspired definition of a hacker as a computer criminal.
- Ongoing sporadically: Periodic research & user polling on format for Makers' Markers
- To coordinate civic hacking activities with other Dallas / Fort Worth groups
- To implement useful civic hacking projects
- To promote civic hacking by recruiting new participants and sponsors
- Steve Rainwater - City of Irving point of contact, GNU/Linux, PostgreSQL, MySQL, PERL, PHP, C
- John Fields - Modern PERL, GNU/Linux, PHP, SQL, GIS, OSM
- Ralph Green - PostgreSQL, MySQL, Python, OSM
- Daniel Jackson - Python, Django
- Lance Preston - Unix/Linux scripting, database dev, SQL, GPS, GIS, mapping (e.g., kml/kmz, shapefile, TIGER), OpenStreetMap, Google Earth, instrumentation, data acquisition/data logging
- Gus Reiter - PHP, MySQL
This project is a partnership with bcWorkshop, and aims to crowdsource people's definitions of neighborhood boundaries within the City of Dallas through a mobile app. The goal is to "empower community stakeholders and neighborhood leaders to have greater impact on the activity within and direction of their neighborhood," as currently at an administrative level, there are way too many neighborhood definitions for Dallas to keep track of.
Ways you can help:
- Be an application tester. Tell us how much fun you have with it and how we can make it better. Then, tell your friends. :-)
N Minutes From the Makerspace
As part of an initiative to find out what resources are close to the Makerspace, we have produced maps that show the boundary of the area Google believes we could reach by driving for n minutes or less (assuming you don't get stuck waiting for trains). Currently, we have two maps: 5 minutes and 10 minutes. You can ask Stephen Wylie for these maps now; eventually we will be "cleaning them up" with real GIS software (instead of just drawing the boundaries freehand in MS Paint) and posting them here.
Ways you can help:
- Help me vectorize these map boundaries in a GIS tool (i.e. make a big polygon with lots of vertices).
- Help me check the accuracy of this data.
- Search for business listings within this area from either Makers' Markers or places where DMS members might want to gather to get food or entertainment.
This will be a couple of interactive maps (one physical, with push-pins for crowdsourcing; one online) that feature placemarks consisting of local stores around Dallas/Ft. Worth that sell consumable supplies, parts, or tools that one might use when building projects at DMS. All sorts of domains are covered, including wood/metalworking, plastics, ceramics, electronics, craft supplies, fabrics, gases, hardware, hydroponics. Currently the project exists as a QGIS file and associated spreadsheet of data.
Ways you can help:
- The accuracy of the placemarks for these stores needs to be verified before the map can get printed.
- Placemark shapes & colors need to be optimized to minimize overlap, maximize visibility, and accommodate those with certain visual impairments.
- A physical listing of these places needs to be compiled that includes map marker index number, name, address, & telephone; plus possibly hours open, a generic marketing blurb, and reviews.
- The Web manifestation of this map needs to be made, with a robust searching/sorting/filtering interface plus ideally the ability for DMS members to leave comments about each place.
Most recent dataset (8/3/15): File:DMS Places.zip
QGIS file (9/3/15): File:DMS-Places-qgs.zip
If you're a Dallas Makerspace member and would like to join the civic hacking group, it's easy. Add your name and the skills you'd like to contribute to the member list above. To keep up to date on DMS civic hacking plans and projects, please subscribe to the civic hacking mailing list through Google Groups. We also have an area in the DMS forum where you can post about civic hacking topics. You may also want to check the list of DFW civic hacking resources below for other groups, forums, or lists of interest.
- DMS Civic Hacking mailing list (which still seems to be actuve, though most communication now happens on the Talk Pages)
- DMS Talk Pages: Civic Hacking
- Establish an Open Data Catalog
- Research and curate DFW data sources
- Identify free software developed by other civic hacking groups that should be deployed in DFW
- Update and launch an OpenBlock instance for DFW
- Host an Open Street Map hackathon or Mapping Party
- Participate in National Day of Civic Hacking
- Identify DFW sources of potable drinking water on OSM (part of OSM drinking water project)
This is a list of software tools that can assist in civic hacking projects. Please include only software whose license meets the Free Software Foundation definition of a free software license.
- OSMtracker (Android) - GPLv3 - GPS tracker for creating OpenStreetMap GPX tracks. Download from Google Play store.
DFW Civic Hacking Resources
- Data Libre DFW Google group - mailing list for anyone interested in DFW civic hacking initiatives
- Data Libre DFW Facebook group - FB group for all DFW civic hackers
- The Cleanweb Initiative - an organization that promotes civic hackathons related to sustainable energy. Also have some good hackathon organization tips and docs, and a catalog of federal data resources.
US Civic Hacking Resources
- OpenEligibility.org - an open human services taxonomy standard for use in civic 211 projects.
- Open211 project in DC - this would make a great model for a similar project in the DFW area
Previous DFW Civic Hacking Events
- 2015 18 March: Maptime Dallas Meetup at DMS, hosted by the DMS Civic Hacking Committee
- 2014 Jul 25-Oct 17: North Texas Apps Challenge
- 2014 Jun 17-19: New Cities Summit 2014, Winspear Opera House, Dallas
- 2014 Apr 20-May 4: DMS Civic Hackathon
- 2014 Mar 28-29: Big Data Hackathon DFW
- 2013 Sep 21 - Software Freedom Day 2013
- 2013 Aug 24 - DMS Open Street Maps mini-hackathon: Adding local social charities
- 2013 Jul 28 - DFW Civic Hacker planning meeting - informal meeting of interested parties to discuss coordination of north TX civic hacking efforts
- DEP City 2.0 Hackathon - info on 9 June, 2012 DEP hackathon
- The Great Last Minute Dallas Hack for Change Microhackathon - 1 June, 2013 Deep Ellum, TX
- DEP Hackathon II - results of the 29 June, 2013 DEP hackathon