First ‘Hackathon’ Hopes to Increase Government Transparency

“Hacking” is encouraged at an upcoming event to increase government transparency. fH2CwCV7

The two-day program hosted by the Montgomery County Civic Federation, the Montgomery County Taxpayers League and the Parents’ Coalition of Montgomery County will bring activists together to work on community projects, apps and websites.

“The event will bring together civic ‘hacktivists,’ including IT programmers and developers, with community civic activists to work on four projects we have identified to make life easier for citizens and increase government transparency and responsiveness,” said Paula Bienenfeld, First Vice President of the Montgomery County Civic Federation.

This is the first year for the program which will be held at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center on Feb. 8 and 9.

The projects that the event will focus on include:

  • Transit – Building a multi-lingual mobile web app that will help people find Ride On bus stops.
  • Demographics – Creating a tool to help people location important areas and locations on a map and find out the demographic makeup of the area using data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Public Information – Starting a service that will help people submit Maryland Public Information Act (MPIA) requests and track the responses, opening up them up to the public.
  • Follow the Money – Creating a usable, easily searchable database from State of Maryland pdf files on lobbying activities.

“Our first hope is to create the successful apps and sites to help citizens in the county. Second, we hope this will be the best way for our civic activists and people long involved in the community to meet up with IT programmers and developers to create a long-term vibrant activist community,” Bienenfeld said. “We hope this will be the kick-off for more apps creation and development of increasing transparency in government documents.”

The event is open to the public. Find more information on how to register for the program here.

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Valerie Bonk

About Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk is a multimedia reporter and community engagement specialist with Montgomery Community Media (MCM).


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