National/Florida Day of Civic Hacking 2017

Your City Needs You.

What to Expect

We’re transparent, inclusive, respectful, permissionless, and generative, and we’d like you to join us. You don’t even have to be a programmer! We need all kinds of talent, so please don’t let the “code” in our name scare you.

We will set the stage for you and present problem statements. We also will be conducting User Testing on a City of Orlando webpage. We will need volunteer facilitators, note takers, and participants! This is a great non-technical project to work on.

Whether you are technical or not, you should bring whatever you need to to do what you are great at. Even if you don’t usually work with computers, bringing a laptop if you own one will be SUPER helpful. Don’t forget your charger! :)

How to Participate

After our welcome we will help you form teams based off the areas of interest/problem statements. Your basic options are form a team, join a team, or work solo. Do what you do best. Plan what you and you team wish to achieve and set a realistic scope for the day. At Code for America we have a few important mottos: “Done is better than Perfect” “Make Things, Move quickly.” If you want help finding a team to work on let any of the Code for Orlando core leadership team know, and they will help make sure you find a match.

Problem Statements

To help get your creative juices flowing we’ve come up with a few problems to focus on.

  • How might we help our city's data portal keep it's data up to date?
  • How might we help inform the community when there might be Event Parking downtown?
  • How might we give proof to communities and individuals outside of Orlando that we have a vibrant and growing tech scene?
  • How might we demonstrate Orlando as a vibrant and growing city to the rest of the country?
  • How might we use crowdsourcing to get our streets and sidewalks clean after a Hurricane?
  • How might I learn about what I need to do after a hurricane to clean up debris and stay safe doing it?

You are by no means limited to these problem statements and are encouraged to work on whatever you’d like. As long as it’s a problem that benefits the community it’s on topic for this hackathon!

Advice on Project Management, Scope, and Team Resources

Scope Creep is real! Remember you only have a day so define an MVP that’s minimal and viable of what can be done in a day. Keep in mind that you won’t spend every minute programming and working on your project. You’ll need to account for time planning, eating, networking and generally enjoying the day.

We tend to overestimate what we can get done in a given amount of time! Embrace that and aggressive prune your feature list.

Remember your audience/users. Think about what they might value and if you don’t know, ask a few other participants! You might find your target user among the civic hackers in attendance!

To maximum efficiency in your team be sure to assign roles. Who is going to lead? Design? Research? Test? Make the Presentation? Present? Document? Having a clear understanding of who is doing what will help minimize miscommunication.

To help facilitate communication please join our Slack and create a channel for your project. It’s an easy way to send links and data back and forth. It’s also a great way to keep in touch after the hackathon is over.

Having a successful team means having the right people. If you are missing a specific skill let any of the Code for Orlando Core Leadership Team know and we will try our best to help you find what you need. Remember you’ll need more than just programmers for a top notch project. We expect to have plenty of non-technical participants so be sure to volunteer your services as a designer, project manager, or cheerleader.

Finally, use issue tracking! Spend plenty of time planning the project and the work to be done before actually building something. That time spent will pay back in dividends when your team can focus on the project and not figuring out what to do next.

We will have pencils, paper, markers, post-its and other analog materials to help in your creation, planning, idea, and management process if you need it.

Set small goals. Go for low hanging fruit. Keep it simple. Iterate. Test. Pivot.


To learn more about what Code for Orlando’s about be sure to check out Jen Pahlka’s TED talk. Jen founded Code for America and perfectly articulates her vision in 12 minutes.

City Data Resources

Orlando's Open Data Portal Orlando GIS Data

County Data Resources

Orange County GIS Data

State Data Resources

Tabs on Tally API - Florida Legislative Data Florida Geographic Data Library

National Data Resources Data Sets


8:30 am

Panera Breakfast & Coffee as we welcome guests! Get to know your fellow civic hackers and get energized for our day ahead.

9:00 am

National/Florida Day of Civic Hacking begins! Code for Orlando will welcome everyone and set the tone and expectations for the day ahead. We will talk about our community problems and go over how to participate in the day.

9:30 am

It's time to find your teammates and workspace! We will organize into groups and find a space to assemble in. Discuss the problem statements with your team and see which one you want to tackle. Spend this time discussing a solution to your problem statement and coming up with a plan for what to build.

10:00 am

Time to get to work! Break out tasks for your project and make sure everyone is pushing forward. The bulk of the work happens at this time so keep your team energized and working toward your solution.

12:00 pm

Lunch and get to know our fellow civic hackers even more. Take as long or as little as you wish for lunch. Some of us will no doubt need to be peeled away from our work for sustenance!

4:00 pm

Begin to wrap up projects and identify who in your group will present your solution. This is a good time to put together slides to show your project or make sure your demo is working. Give yourself time to practice and be proud of what you've built.

5:00 pm

We will begin a presentation of everything we have created! We will get to see what each group has built and share our experiences. The event will close at 6pm, but the efforts of civic hackers will never die!

After Party:

If there is interest, we can socialize on or around Church Street at some awesome local bars and pubs!

Code for Orlando, a local Code for America brigade, brings the community together to improve Orlando through technology. We are a group of “civic hackers” from various disciplines who are committed to volunteering our talents to make a difference in the local community through technology. We unite to improve the way the community, visitors, and local government experience Orlando.

by Erin-Denton
Thu Sep 28 2017 00:00:00 GMT+0000 (UTC)
tags: NDOCHHackathon