A group of hackers plan to meet up this weekend in Chapel Hill and gain access to official data.
No, this is not the plot for some Jason Bourne or James Bond thriller. It’s the Civic Data Hackathon.
These hackers aren’t Russian spies or international terrorists. They are a variety of tech insiders, data science professionals, high school and college students and town officials interested in pooling their efforts for the benefit of the Chapel Hill community, event organizer Garrison Reid said.
“The Code for America and Code for Chapel Hill concept is to bridge the gap between what can the civic-minded person, who is really aware of technology, can they help their community, how can they help the town establishments.”
Hosted at the Hargraves Community Center 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday, a majority of the attendees will be students or technology professionals, and then other members of the community and town staff.
Reid, an information technology teacher at Chapel Hill High School, said he is excited to hear project ideas that community members will bring to the table Saturday.
“Is that information we have through these data sets? And if so, what do we need to build? Is it a website or is it an app? What is that? And we can go from there?”
The event is organized by Code for Chapel Hill, a partner of Code for America, a nationwide non-profit started in 2009 that the New York Times said tries to, “import the efficiency of the Web into government infrastructure.”
Data will be drawn from Chapel Hill Open Data, a town of Chapel Hill public library program that puts many government data sets online for public use. That includes energy-use statistics, community surveys, air quality data and more.
Reid already has a couple projects on his mind. One will explore better ways for tracking participation in parks department programs. Another will involve affordable housing in Chapel Hill.
As of Wednesday, the event is expected to reach capacity and is not accepting anymore online RSVPs.