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Civic Hacking: Mining Miami Data For The Greater Good


Hack for Change: Miami, as part of the National Day of Civic Hacking, brings coders and artists together to envision creative ways government data can be more useful to the community.

Participants will dive into projects that visualize open data or improve its accessibility.

Miami-Dade County for instance has a challenge to improve its 311 Answer Center app to easily report neighborhood concerns.

The ideas chipped away at the civic hackathon will be presented in a curated exhibit called "The Art of Civic Hacking" this fall, says Richard Bookman, 61, a pharmacology professor at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine and one of the organizers of Hack for Change: Miami. More than 200 people have registered to join the brainstorm June 1-2 at LAB Miami.

"I would like people to walk away understanding more what civic hacking is and to think differently about the reusability of government data," Bookman says. "We really want to try to take a small step to bridge the gap between developers and artists."

RELATED: Five Reasons To Hack For Change In Wynwood On Saturday

You don’t need to have coding experience to get a sense of civic involvement. Participants can start contributing to the ‪MiamiWiki‪, a locals-driven guide about the city and its residents.

“The idea of a wiki inspired me because I’m relatively new to Miami,” says Ernie Hsiung, 36, a software engineer who launched Miami Wiki. “When I moved from San Francisco to Miami Beach, all the local guides targeted tourists. I was looking for a resource by locals for locals.”

While the site's in its infancy, Miami Wiki explores local chatter more than Wikipedia's Miami page, such as the 786/305 area code feud and Miami attractions that are no longer around. Hsiung hopes there will be entries in Spanish and Creole as the site evolves.

“I’m hoping Miami Wiki has more of a flavor or culture," he says. "If the Miami Wiki has a little tongue-in-cheek to it, it brings a little bit of personality and ownership.”

You can start adding pages, or write about yourself in the People section.

Note: WLRN and The Miami Herald have their own pages in the Miami Wiki.

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