Welcome to HRVA Civic Hackfest! Your participation is heroic.
This event marks the first step in a journey toward making Hampton Roads smarter through “the people and the power of the web.”
Our goal, which cannot be reached by a single event, is to transform the way our region uses the web to improve our quality of life. Our region needs infrastructure to operate. Just like roads, rail, and ports are a part of our physical infrastructure, the web is our digital infrastructure. The region may or may not need more or different or better technology but it does need a civic web in order to reach the goal. Let’s build Hampton Roads’ civic web, together.
Our challenge with this event is to lead the way by doing, through civic hacking. Think of it as innovation in public service and economic development for Hampton Roads.
An intangible outcome of HRVA civic hackfest will be greater awareness among participants of the opportunities and challenges of the goal. Local governments and communities will always be outmatched by more sophisticated private sector technologies and ambitions. Yet demand for new and better services is always high. Complaints when things don’t work will never go away. But government is not a vending machine for consumer citizens. It is an infrastructure to be maintained by citizens and it can be a platform on which to build powerfully positive things.
The practical outcome of HRVA civic hackfest is that we’ll make useful things for the web and mobile using public data. We will improve the region’s civic web this weekend.
HRVA Civic Hackfest has three challenge areas:
- Public transit
- Public art
- The regional stormwater system
Against all odds, Hampton Roads Transit went out of its way to publish real time bus data on the web for public use. Our challenge is to create mobile and web apps that answer the questions “where’s my bus?” and “when will my bus be here?” using this data. HRT publishes other useful information for riders that is not optimized for the web or mobile phones. Ever try to look at a route map on a smart phone? Forget about using a text & voice only phone. Let’s change the status quo. By improving access to and usability of HRT’s data we can make the transit system work better for everyone; riders, administrators, and taxpayers. Win. Win. Win.
Norfolk Public Art Commission produced a wealth of content about public art located throughout the city. The data describes art installations through location and multimedia. Our challenge is to improve the mobile and web interfaces to this data. Create better maps. Create an app that shows “art near me.” Create walking tours that link map directions to art locations and their descriptions. It’s art. Be creative. Making apps with public art data enriches experiences in the city for both residents and visitors.
Every first Saturday in June for the past 29 years, thousands of volunteers have turned out for Clean the Bay Day. The event was started in Virginia Beach and now reaches every state in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Over 7500 people are expected to turn out this year. One major impact these volunteers can have is to clean out the storm water system. Our challenge is to give volunteers tools that will enable them to become environmental reporters and watchers using their mobile devices. Create an app that will collect a picture, a location, and a brief description of a clean up spot and populate it to a map in real time. Create an app for “adopting” storm water drains so people can take responsibility for cleaning them and reporting on their status.