Hackathon at Stanford: Opening up Government Data

Yesterday, a big group from CfA headed down to the South Bay for a Hackathon at Stanford. Organized by Sam King and some other passionate coders on campus, the event was focused on getting college students involved in opening up government data and coding for a good cause. A group of over 30 Stanford students, many of whom were just learning PHP and Python, came out, and together, we spent the whole day making the information on government websites more useful and accessible.

We used the collaborative scraper tool called ScraperWiki, which helps developers transform unorganized and unstructured content into machine-readable data — that is, data that can power web and mobile apps. “ScraperWiki-ing” is a great activity for beginner coders. It is social and forgiving. Even better, your work goes towards making our governments more efficient, open, and transparent by making information more linkable and extendable.

Here is a list of what government datasets we were able to make available during the Hackathon:

You can see all of our Code for America scrapers here. We’re looking forward to seeing what the Stanford students and anyone else make happen with all this data!

Chacha Sikes 2011 Fellow

Connecting open source communities & learners with real-world problems in our cities.
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