National Day of Hacking takes place this Saturday, September 23rd at 1701 Baltic, Virginia Beach, VA 23451 (corner of Baltic and 17th St).
Code for Hampton Roads’ Kevin Curry shared more about the focuses of the event, Mesh Networks, Open Data apps, and Hurricane Response:
Mesh Networks initiative is being led by Jeff Werby. He is co-owner of 1701 Virginia Beach Coworking, Port and Starboard, and Fathom Coffee. It is inspired by similar efforts in Brooklyn (Red Hook Wifi) and Philadelphia (Bamboo Wifi). See here for more info and links. The project plans to serve two purposes: economic development and providing broad/inclusive community Internet access. The initial goal will be to launch a community supported network covering the ViBe District and surrounding neighborhoods.
Open Data apps is a broader mix of things. I’m giving a quick 50 intro class to show how I used open data to make SpotFax.us. There are many applications for open data, from single use info-graphics, in-depth research, to real time web application. There is a Github repository of activity inspiration here. You’ll see that these are all framed on what I consider to be one the most important benefits of open data, which is to ask and answer questions about key indicators: what is the average EMS response time by neighborhood? What neighborhoods have the most police service calls? How are we faring year over year on business licenses and new business listings?
Hurricane Response. It’s really a cautionary tale of good intentions and making sure they don’t go wrong. I’m still talking to people and researching the experiences in Houston and Miami. My thought is that there might be an interest locally or that one day our members would try to respond to a crisis, and I want to start them with some background and get them pointed in the right direction (which might not be Code for Hampton Roads). The key for something like hurricane/natural disaster response is to learn lessons and prepare well in advance.
“We have several other activities besides these to inspire people. We’re launching Adopt-a-Drain app for Virginia Beach, for example. My goal for the event is to inspire 1-3-5 coders and designers in Virginia Beach like we have in Norfolk who want to use their skills to make our city and region better,” said Curry. “This event is an introduction to Code4HR and celebration of how and why we do what we do. After National Day of Civic Hacking we’ll have Meetups at 1701”