On the first weekend in June, civic activists, technology experts, and entrepreneurs around the country will gather together for the National Day of Civic Hacking. By combining their expertise with new technologies and publicly released data, participants hope to build tools that help others in their own neighborhoods and across the United States.
It’s a great cause and we’re excited to take part. On June 1, we’ll welcome developers and tech experts to the White House for our second hackathon.
The last time we did this, it was a huge success. We hosted 21 participants who built apps and visualizations based on the new API for We the People — the White House petition system. The White House development team drew on feedback from the hackthaon to improve the API and is adding code from its projects to a software development kit (SDK).
For the National Day of Civic Hacking, participants will focus on producing full, production ready apps and visualization tools that will be featured on the We the People website and made available under an open source license.
The deadline for applications is 5:00pm on Friday, April 19.
Those selected to attend the hackathon in person will be notified by email and invited to join us at the White House on June 1. If you’re not able to attend in person, you can still take part. On May 1, we’ll open a public repo on GitHub where you’ll be free to collaborate with other participants and the White House development team as we begin working on our projects. Follow @WHWeb on Twitter for updates and details.
Petitions on We the People have been a catalyst for change, shaping a number of important policy discussions throughout the Administration. For example, this past January someone created a petition in favor of allowing consumers to unlock their cell phones. This wasn’t an issue the White House had previously taken a position on, but when more than 114,000 people signed the petition, policy experts across the Administration sat down, discussed the issues it raised, and concluded that the petitioners were exactly right. The White House announced its agreement in March via an official response.
This API is part of an effort, not only to broaden the conversation taking place via We the People, but to make the medium of that conversation as flexible, open, and transparent as possible. By building and releasing applications that leverage the API, and by making it possible for other platforms to connect with We the People, you’ll be making it easier for others to take part in that conversation.
The need for a broad, inclusive conversation extends to this hackathon as well. The most creative ideas, and the best solutions, often emerge when a diverse group comes together and each person contributes from their own, unique perspective. We hope that hackers from all backgrounds, men and women, young and old, will apply.
If you have the skills necessary to work with APIs and develop visualizations, tools, or other services that rely their data, we want to hear from you. Submit your application today.