The Next International Open Data Hack Day – initial thoughts

Yesterday I got to meet up with Edward Ocampo-Gooding and Mary Beth Baker in Ottawa and we started talking about what the next international open data hackathon: when might be a good time to do it, what might it look like, etc…

One idea is to set a theme that might help inspire people and serve as something to weave the events together in stronger way. Edward proposed the theme of Mom’s and, since, in many, many, many countries, Mother’s day is in May, it seemed like a nice suggestion.

It also has two nice benefits:

  • it gets us away from an exclusive focus on government and might get people in the headspace of creating applications with tangible uses – something almost everyone can relate to
  • many people have mom’s! so getting into the shoes of a mom and imagining what might be interesting, engaging and/or helpful shouldn’t be impossible
  • it might engage new people in the open data movement and in the local events

In addition, another suggestion that was raised is the idea of focusing on a few projects that have already been speced out in advanced – much like Random Hacks of Kindness does with their hackathons. Think this could be fruitful to explore.

Finally, regarding timelines, I’m thinking May. It works thematically (if that theme gets used). More importantly, however, it’s far enough out to plan, near enough to be tangible and sets a nice pace of two global hackathons a year which feels sufficiently ambitious for a group of volunteers, doesn’t crowd out/compete with other hackathons or local events, and seems like a good check in timeline for volunteer driven projects… Also, it might give people a chance to use scrapperwiki in the interim to get data together for projects they want to work on.

Thoughts on all this? Please blog, post a comment below, or if you are feeling shy, drop me a note (david at eaves.ca or @daeaves with hastag #odhd on twitter). I’ve also created a page on the Open Data Day wiki to discuss this if people are more comfortable with that.

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Jeff Ribeira

Hi there David. I personally don’t know too much about these hackathons, but I’m pretty interested to know what they’re about. Just a couple quick questions to help me understand better: what exactly is a hackathon, and what are its goals/motives?

Adriel Hampton

David, have you checked out the U.S opengov summits planned for May? May be some synergy with the local organizers and the international hackathon.