Open Government

White House gears up for second 'hackathon'

tech manager

The White House is looking for hackers, tech experts and developers to participate in its second Hackathon on June 1. The goal is to produce "full, production-ready applications and visualization tools" that will be used on the We the People petitioning system under an open-source license.

This Hackathon coincides with National Day of Civic Hacking, in which thousands of civic-minded activists and hackers will come together nationwide to build tools for the public's greater good. It also represents a chance for the White House to build on the successes of its first-ever Hackthon, which was held in February. "The last time we did this, it was a huge success," said deputy director of Online Platform for the Office of Digital Strategy, Peter Welsch, in a White House blog post.

"The White House development team drew on feedback from the Hackthaon to improve the API and is adding code from its projects to a software development kit," Welsch said. "If you have the skills necessary to work with APIs and develop visualizations, tools, or other services that rely their data, we want to hear from you."

Application

Apply here to take part in the upcoming White House Hackathon.

The application deadline is 5 p.m. on April 19. Those selected to participate will be contacted and given access to a public repository on GitHub to begin collaborating with others on projects.

The White House's February Hackathon produced several advances to help improve the application programming interface that drives the We the People petitioning system. They include:

Where the People, by Mick Thompson, a time-lapse visualization showing where petitions are being signed, grouped by zip code and weighted for percentage of population.

Widget the People, by Douglas Back, a tool to create an embeddable thermometer showing how many signatures a petition needs before it reaches the White House's response threshold.

R We the People, by Yoni Ben-Meshulam, a package for the R statistics environment that allows users to generate word clouds and visualize the issues for which petitions are created over time.

For more information, follow the White House tech team @WHWeb on Twitter, or go to hackforchange.org.

About the Author

Frank Konkel is a former staff writer for FCW.

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