What is National Day of Civic Hacking?
National Day of Civic Hacking is the biggest gathering of civic hackers in the world. It brings technologists, entrepreneurs, developers and other citizens together to improve their communities and the governments that serve them.
It will take place in over 100 cities around the world, with the focus of improving our communities and the governments that serve them. On this coming weekend, nearly 15,000 citizens from 13 countries will take part in the National Day of Civic Hacking.
Throughout the weekend (and beyond, in many cases) participants create services, apps and websites that address social and civic problems, like environmental impact, accessibility, transit, homelessness, and civic transparency.
You can check out the report for 2014’s National Day of Civic Hacking here.
What is civic hacking?
Civic hacking is a creative and often technological approach to solving civic problems. These civic problems can range from providing voter information and improving access to public services to helping communities after a natural disaster.
“Civic hackers” are technologists, civil servants, designers, entrepreneurs, engineers – anybody – who is willing to collaborate with others to create, build, and invent to address challenges relevant to our neighborhoods, our cities, our states and our country.
Often civic hacking involves the use of government data to make governments more accountable, but it can be much broader, limited only by our ideas and imagination.
You can watch a TED talk by Catherine Bracy from Code for America explaning about “Why good hackers make good citizens” below.
How do I sign-up for the Census Data Mini Hackathon?
You can sign up at our Event Nook registration page for the event: http://evnk.co/nationaldayofcivichacking
What kinds of data are available from the census?
The 2014 census is Myanmar’s first census in over 30 years. It will provide a nationwide dataset which will provide information about the population and households of Myanmar down to the lowest administrative levels of villages and wards.
You can download all the data in Excel files in both Myanmar and English language at the UNFPA website.
The data that is made publicly available on 29th May 2015, however, contains information only down to the level of more than 400 townships and sub-townships.
The results released in May 2015 contains information on:
- – urban/rural population
- – male/female population
- – age distribution
- – marital status
- – nationals living abroad
- – literacy
- – school/college attendance
- – highest level of education completed
- – labour force participation
- – unemployment rate
- – usual activity (self employed, gov’t employee, retired, etc)
- – childbirth
- – infant mortality
- – age of mothers
- – type of identity card held
- – disabilities
- – type of housing
- – ownership of housing
- – construction materials used for house
- – type of toilet
- – main source of lighting
- – source of water for drinking/non-drinking
- – main type of cooking fuel
- – access to communication (radio, television, mobile phone, internet, etc)
- – access to vehicles (car, bicycle, boat, etc)
What is open data?
Open data is data that anyone can access, use and share.
In today’s world, data has become increasingly important. Gathering, understanding, analysing and sharing data has become crucial for governments, businesses, and civil society organisations to be effective and innovative.
Governments, communities and organisations all over the world have been joining the open data movement to make the data they have gathered available for everyone to use.
You can watch a TED talk by Tim-Berners Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, explaning about the Open Data Movement below.
However, good open data has to be easily sharable, available in a stardardised format, and have to be consistent and trustworthy. With the release of the 2014 census results in Myanmar, we want to make sure that this data satisfies all these different criteria.
What is the census data mini-hackathon for?
The census data mini-hackathon is organised as part of the National Day of Civic Hacking.
During the mini-hackathon, developers, designers, and members of civil-society groups will come together build technology products (such as web apps, mobile apps, and infographics) that will make the census data more useful and more easily accessible for everyone in Myanmar.
Our aim is to kick-start the open data movement in Myanmar, and build a community of civic hackers who are interested in working with open data projects.
What kinds of tech products are we going to build at the census data mini-hackathon?
We are thinking of four different types of tech products that should be built at the mini-hackathon:
– An API to access the census data
In order for the developer community to build apps and services using the census data, it has to be available through an API that is accessible to everyone. We hope to build a protoype API for some subset of the census data that has been released.
– A Table Builder to allow users to build customised datasets
There are dozens of different data fields in the census data and they are given at different geographic levels (state/region, district, township), for different age groups, and for different sexes. This means that there many possible ways to filter the data. A web based, interactive table builder that allows users to build customised tables that only contain the specific dataset they are interested in would make the census data a lot easier to use.
– Interactive dashboard to visualise the census data
Data that is displayed as numbers in a table is very difficult for humans to understand. In order for the data to be easy to understand, it is important to create visualisations of the data through charts, graphs, maps, and combine them together using an interactive dashboard.
– An open data website to serve as a home for all the other products
All of the products produced during the mini-hackathon will be uploaded onto a website that will be a home for Myanmar’s open data. The website will allow users to download the raw data, provide an API, as well as host web and mobile apps that users can use to explore the data for themselves.
What skills can I learn at the mini-hackathon?
The mini-hackathon is open for anyone who is interested in civic tech and open data to join. There will be mentors who are experienced developers who will guide you in building APIs, using mapping and geographic data, developing interactive data visualisations, and other skills such as web design and using Excel to analyse data.
When is the census data mini-hackathon going to be held?
It will be held on June 6, 2015, as part of the global event called the National Day of Civic Hacking.
It is scheduled from 9am to 6pm, but hackers are welcome to stay beyond 6pm and keep working throughout the night.
If I build a tech product at the mini-hackathon, do I have to share it with everyone?
The idea behind the mini-hackathon is to build tech products that is useful and available for everyone. We strongly encourage you to open source all the code that you write and the products that you build for the mini-hackathon. Even if you would not like to open source the products you have built, you will be required to provide a free license for the public to use the product.
I am not in Yangon on June 6, but I would still like to help. Can I join the mini-hackathon remotely?
Yes, you can contribute to the mini-hackathon remotely as well. You just have to be communicating with the rest of the hackers regularly throughout the day to make sure everyone is on the same page.