Hack4Reno is a 24-hour hackathon being held on October 15-16, 2011. But you don't need to hack on code to be part of this movement. The goal is to build things that make Reno better by demonstrating the value of open data and open government. This event allows developers, designers, and citizens to learn new technology, showcase their talent, and, ultimately, build new applications that help make Reno a smarter, more engaged place to live.
We are literally holding our open data event out in the open--we'll be setting up tents and tables in the plaza at the downtown events center. In fact, all our planning is happening in the open. We use GitHub for data, documents, and wiki--and use the issues to track our progress. Our plan is to open source the entire process.
We've added a series of workshops and classes leading up to the main event, in addition to a small unconference-style track. We're interested in this combination and think it's the perfect pairing to attract a variety of folks that want to improve Reno with their ideas and their code. Our hope is that the local citizenry takes an interest in what is happening and comes out to learn something or even better, to share ideas.
Right now, the organizers are busy scurrying around collecting data for our hackers to use, finishing our GitHub based hackathon team registration application, building a wifi network with second-hand equipment, and finalizing the sponsorships.
It's been a fascinating process and we've been rewarded by our open and welcoming local governments and organizations. Last week our Mayor issued a proclamation that this weekend is "Hack4Reno Weekend" in Reno. Additionally, the organizers have received support from Washoe County and cold calls from the state Department of Transportation. Perhaps more surprising to us is the list of supporters that just seems to keep growing and growing. People seem to get it and seem eager to connect with others and our government through a shared purpose.