A Weekend of Civic Hacking in San Francisco

Next Friday, February 24th, and Saturday, February 25th, two civic hacking events will break new digital ground for San Francisco and at least a dozen other cities across the country.

Civic hacking – the acts of civic-minded programmers, designers, and leaders who work, independently and collaboratively, to improve their cities using the people and power of the web.

Civic hacker – one who participates in civic hacking.

Starting Friday, Februrary 24th, and continuing Saturday, Mix & Stir Studio and California College of the Arts will host “Unhackathon #1: The SF Taxi & Communication Challenge.”
On Saturday, February 25th, Code for America will host the Code Across America Brigade Hub.
Each of these events will connect individuals and build teams who will direct their talents toward improving San Francisco and many other cities using the web as a platform. There is a lavish abundance of web talent in San Francisco. Go to one of these energizing events and do your part to improve the user interfaces to your city.

CityCampSF Opens SF Lobbyist Database

At the CityCampSF Hackathon Dec. 10, attendees were frustrated to find no ability to access the complete database of local lobbyist activity hosted by the SF Ethics Commission without scraping the data. During the event, I made an email request to the director of the Commission for the full database, copying the innovations staff at the Department of Technology.

Flash forward to today, when the Ethics Commission announced that it was publishing an API to query the full database. Thanks to the Ethics Commission and its staff, and to Jay Nath and the Department of Technology for helping shepherd through the request. And thank you to Larry Bush and CitiReport for sponsoring a data challenge that uncovered the need for fuller access to the lobbyist database.

Granicus Hosts CityCampSF Hackathon to Promote Civic Innovation & Open Government

Event Supports Open Data Movements Across the Country

Press Contact:
Lauren Alexander, lauren@granicus.com415-728-8624

San Francisco, CA (PRWeb) December 8, 2011 – Granicus is partnering with CityCampSF to host a 24-hour Open Government Hackathon in San Francisco, December 10-11th at Granicus Headquarters. The event is bringing together developers and other creative professionals to build applications that deliver valuable resources to the community and help governments run smarter, more transparent operations.

“CityCamp events focus on bringing together innovators from the technology, journalism, government and neighborhood leadership communities to help solve the tough issues facing our city and state,” said Adriel Hampton, founder of Gov 2.0 Radio and lead organizer for CityCampSF. “The groups that have stepped up to sponsor this event, and the more than 50 coders, designers, researchers and other amazing volunteers and participants who have already signed up to spend a marathon 24 hours working for civic good, are taking responsibility for helping move our government and our communities forward.”

This event is part of a broader policy movement across the country to embrace open data. In fact, California Senator Leland Yee has drafted a bill to ensure all electronic public records follow a structured data format.

“As digital and mobile citizen services become increasingly important, it’s essential that we provide a link between government data and innovation – structured formats empower us to do this. The more open and accessible our data is, the easier it is for us to reach our constituents, address community issues, and hold public agencies accountable,” said Senator Yee.

At the CityCampSF Hackathon event, Granicus is offering cash prizes for the best applications developed using two of its APIs: the Open Platform API and Search API. Both provide developers with powerful access to legislative data which can be used to make government operate more cost-efficiently and collaboratively with the public.

“We’re hoping to see our APIs unlock new ways for people to access and influence the policy-making process,” said Granicus CTO, Javier Muniz. “Developers can easily access public meeting data including videos, topics, and other government actions to create a user-friendly way to follow government.” Muniz will be available to answer questions about the APIs during the event.

Some of the other sponsors of the CityCampSF Hackathon include San Francisco Chief Information Officer, Jon Walton and the San Francisco Department of Technology, Forests Forever, CitiReport, and Tropo. All these organizations are encouraging innovative uses of data and APIs to solve important community issues:

  • Forests Forever is challenging developers to open up logging data in California so it can be analyzed and potentially prevent multi-million dollar policy mistakes. They intend to use the results from the Hackathon to support their efforts to convince state lawmakers to require publication of Timber Harvest Plans in a standard open format.
  • CitiReport, the online newspaper of SF politics, ethics and money, is sponsoring a challenge to develop an ‘open ethics’ app to help provide visibility into campaign finances and city contract awards.
  • Tropo is offering a prize to enhance communication with government and elected officials using phone (speech or touch-tone), text messaging, instant messaging and Twitter applications.

Click here to see the full line-up of CityCamp SF Hackathon projects.

On Sunday, Dec. 11th from 10 AM -Noon, developers participating in the Hackathon will present their applications to a panel of judges. The winners in each sponsored category win cash! However, the ultimate goal of this event is to spur innovation and to support a broader campaign to drive open data legislation in San Francisco, throughout CA, and across the U.S. This movement has already gained the support of the Sunlight Foundation and 100 additional individual and organizational sponsors.


  • See CityCampSF Hackathon event details and learn how to get involved by clicking here
  • View the Hackathon challenges and cash prizes by clicking here
  • Support the open data movement in San Francisco by clicking here
  • Visit the Granicus Blog to follow coverage of the event by clicking here

About Granicus
Granicus, Inc. is the award-winning cloud platform provider for government transparency, efficiency, and citizen participation. It offers the first cloud platform and product suites designed specifically to help government agencies establish meaningful connections with citizens while reducing operational costs. Granicus has been recognized the past four years for being one of the fastest growing company private companies in the U.S., San Francisco, and the Silicon Valley by Deloitte LLP, the San Francisco Business Times, and Inc. Magazine.

Enter and vote SF open government apps, leaders for 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.

Open Data Day Civic Hackers Builder Fee-Free ATM Finder

At Open Day Bay Area, a hackathon sponsored by CityCampSF, CityCampOak, Info Alameda and Urban Strategies Council, a group of civic hackers today developed a web and mobile app for finding fee-free ATMs throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

“I’ve got 99 ATMs … those with fees ain’t one.” ~ 99atms.com

The project was developed by Max Ogden, Matt Hokanson, Ryan Jarvinen, Patrick Golden, Laci Videmsky. The code is “99atms” on GitHub and is open source licensed MIT. To get involved in its further development, contact the project leads using the form at 99atms.com.

CityCampSF awarded the project $500 for best app at the event, and project team members said they planned to use the money on refreshments at public events promoting use of the app.

CityCampSF Hackathon! Dec. 10-11

Join CityCampSF, Gov 2.0 Radio, GovFresh, OpenSF, Third Thursdays SF and Granicus for 24 hours of civic innovation!

Challenges include:

Best demonstration app for assessing the true impacts of clear-cutting in the Sierra Nevadas;

Best app combining City data sources for true transparency in SF campaign donations, lobbying and contracting;

Best use of Granicus APIs;

We’ll also be formally launching an advocacy campaign for structured open data definitions in San Francisco municipal and California state law. Endorse that effort here.

More to be announced! Submit a challenge or ask questions on the CityCampSF Hackathon Projects page.

If you’d like to contribute to covering the costs of the event, pitch in here. Thanks!

Read more about CityCamp here.

December 10, 2011 at 12:00 PM – December 11, 2011 at 12:00 PM
600 Harrison St
Suite 120
San Francisco, CA 94107
Google map and directions
Adriel Hampton · adriel@adrielhampton.com · 415-237-4299

A Rundown of CityCampSF 2011 Sessions

We’ve got a great line up of potential sessions this year. Of course this is just a sampling, with many more to come when we brainstorm sessions live tomorrow June 18th.

Jay Nath

“User Experience, Citizen Experience”
Cyd Harrell (@cydharrell) will share the fundamentals of learning from your own users/constituents and lead a discussion of how to get the designers and research community involved.

What to Expect from the SF Office of Innovation
Jay Nath (@jay_nath) will share several projects coming out of his office such as: SmartPDF, ImproveSF, Citidex, Apps4SF, Innovation Lab,

“Community Development & Art in the Digital Age”
Peter Hirshberg will share ideas and concepts centered around their work in GAFFTA including digital art based on open data, public digital visualization, and the emerging civic hacker culture showcased in the Summer of Smart

“Neighborhood Communication and Organization”
Stephen Hood from BlockBoard will talk about the emerging applications that are helping neighbors connect; share goods and services; and organize to take action.

“Open311 API: Next Generation Customer Service”
Mark Head, Jay Nath and others will lead a session on where Open311 is heading and the great work that has been done to date. They will share the apps being developed including emerging ideas like automated voice systems, q&a, and more.

CityCampSF Agenda

Citycamps are unconferences – loosely structured and participant driven. We will have five or more simultaneous sessions for much of the day. Here’s a general timeline for Saturday:

8:30-9:30, registration, coffee and bagels

9:30-10, session design (grid), intros

10-11 sessions

11-11:10 Address by DPW Director Ed Reiskin

11:10-noon sessions

Noon-1 – lunch – Vietnamese sandwiches, demos and grid update

1-1:15 – kickoff afternoon, City Attorney Dennis Herrera and Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White

1:15-2 sessions

2-3 sessions

3-4 final sessions

Have an idea for a session? Share it here.

Haven’t registered yet? There’s still room – do it here.

Great Fiscal, Organizing Sponsors = Free, Fun CityCampSF

It’s thanks to our great sponsors and volunteers that citycamps remain free to attend. Please check out these great folks and be sure to get to know them at Saturday’s event. And if you haven’t yet, register free for CityCampSF 2011 through Eventbrite here. You can also still sign up to sponsor the camp at a level of your choosing on the registration page. Thank you!

Gold Sponsors:

Silver Sponsors:

Organizing and Media Sponsors:

San Francisco Department of Technology (venue host)

Tech Central SF logo

Additional sponsors and supporters:

Gavan and Nat Gibson

Lucy Bernholz

Mike McCarthy