What if you could GPS report your location to a taxi or car service, report to traffic enforcement a car that blatantly cut you off on your bike, or crowdsource a position for your startup production company instantly from an app on your phone? What if the working but uninsured could flash mob an influential presence for universal health insurance at a sudden, but single moment? What if the city could immediately inform you when the complaints you yourself issue to MTA or the parks service, based on their own planned schedules, could be addressed? These are but a few of the kinds of problems and solutions New Yorkers have suggested be tackled by the first ever “Great Urban Hack” going down this weekend.
Coders, open source techs, and journalists are getting together to realize, design, code, create and report on projects to help New Yorkers get more information day to day, and thus engage even more in our fair city. In a 36 hour marathon at Eyebeam Art + Technology Center on the West Side this weekend, WNYC, the Knight Foundation, and Hacks/Hackers, an NYC group of computer programmers, tech gurus, and writers who evidently band together to alleviate some of New Yorker’s technical difficulties, are staging this first of it’s kind event. It seems to be something of a coup de grace, their first all night hack-a thon, of sorts. Bringing together public data and input, combined with information and innovation, the goal is to end the weekend with an unknown number of web tools, phone or tablature apps, and other innovations built within the time of the 36 hour stretch. Over the course of the two days, participants will brainstorm together, come up with problems plaguing our urban lives, and come up with solutions in the form off apps, website tools, etc.
The event is open to the public for $25 reported to help fund the organization, the snacks, and I’m sure the coffee needed to help everybody make it through the perfect brainstorm. Click here for an RSVP. According to Hacks/Hackers website:
The New York City Big Apps challenge will be there to speak, plus a rep from the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications. Also Mark Malkoff, the viral video comedian who worked for the Colbert Show for four years, will be on hand.”
Seems cool. Might even be worth checking out. Journalists recognize social problems. Programmers make useful formulas and manipulate data. Maybe you could go and help it all make sense. Either way, I’m glad its happening. What we need is an app to tell you if that show at the less-than-legal warehouse is going to be shut down that night.
Click here to check out the marathon ground rules , according to Hack/Hacker:
1. Projects should not be under development prior to the start of the event. Pre-existing code libraries, APIs, sketches, and similar raw materials are allowed, but the spirit of the event encourages participants to build what they can in 36 hours.
2. Choose an Open Source Initiative-approved license http://www.opensource…, or, if for a non-code project, a Creative Commons license if an OSI license does not meet your needs.
3. Projects aren’t limited to code or an app. Creating websites, design systems, information graphics, maps, etc. are OK!
4. We encourage participants to work with at least one person at the event who they don’t already know.