A year of work partnering with the other Central Texas government agencies, the public, private industry and universities culminated in a day of demonstrations and presentation at the 2014 Texas Digital Government Summit in Austin on Tuesday June 17.
Staff from the City of Austin, Travis County, Texas.Gov, Texas DIR and Capital Metro shared with government IT professionals from across Texas information and practices on how open government data can be used in positive and innovative ways. In addition, staff presented three applications developed at the ATX Hack for Change.
In 2013, at the Chief Information Officer Academy, members of the Central Texas governments decided to work together to promote open data and civic hacking. Over the past year the group has sponsored some great events.
The partners put on a hands-on workshop for other government agencies about how to successfully plan and host their own hackathons. A clear outcome of this event was the focus on the need for government data to successfully fuel civic coding events.
With the attention on data in mind the partners hosted the Central Texas Regional Data Partners Data Expo that brought more than 75 people together from the private, public and people sectors and each agency shared the data they currently make available to the public. Those in attendance also shared what they thought could make the data more friendly and what other data sets they would like to see.
Several of the ideas raised at the Data Expo were taken forward to the Second Annual ATX Hack for Change, part of the National Civic Day of Hacking, hosted by St. Edwards University on May 31 and June1. In this event, 300 people came together to work on 16 projects over the two days.
Three of these projects were presented at the Digital Government Summit. In a “Shark Tank” style presentation people gave short pitches on three of the apps that were created at the ATX Hack for Change and after the presentations the crowd was polled on their favorite. The crowd favorite was an app developed to help reunite lost pets with their owners.
These events have created great momentum moving forward. In the future, the regional partners will be looking for more opportunities to promote civic hacking. The Partners will also be working on developing a website portal to post ideas, future events and collaboration opportunities.