Tomorrow is the National Day of Civic Hacking, an event across more than 100 cities across the nation – including our very own Louisville (dubbed #Hackville). “Hacking” is somewhat out of IQS’ wheel house (as seen by the fact that we put it in quotes), as we are more on the stats end of the nerdy spectrum. However, that’s not to say that we don’t subscribe to the same purpose in life, which is to parse through the noise of the world to come to clear-cut conclusions. We just go through it by a slightly different type of analysis.

The catalyst of this event has been the push by city, state, and federal governments to increase the amount of information that is freely available to the public. In less than a decade, governments have made available huge amounts of raw data. This is on top of the already-rich data sets coming from places like the Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the CDC, the FBI, etc. etc.*

Each of these sources act as inputs to just about everything we do on a daily basis. Think of them as a foundation that talented developers build onto to provide each of us with the ridiculous amount of apps and gadgets that we use constantly. A perfect example would be the award-winning SafetyCheck app developed by #Hackville organizer Michael Schnuerle of YourMapper. Using the Open Data Portal from LouieStat to analyze nearby crime activity (there will be plenty of articles dedicated to data from this great portal to come in this blog), SafetyCheck gives you a quick, real-time update on nearby crime activity.

We urge everyone who is interested to check this event out. It’s free, and registration is still open. If nothing else, you can stop by to show your support for those who are hacking with a purpose. If events like this didn’t exist, the city (and all other cities involved) would be losing out on the massive positive productivity potential from their innovations.

 

*There are a number of downsides when it comes to increasing the amount of data made available like this. The goal becomes clouded by complexity. But, hey, that’s why you have geeks like us to weed through the meaningless to find the meaningful.