This Week in Civic Tech: Week of April 17th, 2017
What is this? This Week in Civic Tech is a weekly roundup of news of the people and organizations making government work better for everyone in a digital age, brought to you by Code for America.
Chi Hack Night (CHN) turned five this past Tuesday. To celebrate, CHN, gathered civic tech enthusiasts from across the city to tackle a wide variety of projects, including helping the city launch an open data portal. According to a glowing review from one attendee, "I have made numerous friendships, have learned new skills, have developed empathy and understanding on many issues, and deepened my love for the positive impact that technology can have on my city and the world." Happy 5th, Chi Hack Night!
The Austin Monitor is partnering with Austin's Code for America brigade, Open Austin, to produce simulated budget software for students to experiment with. The project is intended to give students a better understanding of budgeting in their city, and could even ultimately lead to a youth-centered "participatory budgeting" program like the one launched in the city of Boston last year.
The City of New York has updated its free WiFi portal project, LinkNYC, which was launched last year, to help residents in need access social services. The public access internet kiosks are now equipped with ACCESS NYC, the city's public benefits portal and eligibility screener, and an app called Aunt Bertha, nicknamed "the Yelp for Social Services," to connect users with social services available in the city generally, and in some cases, services in proximity to the specific kiosk being used. Together, the two tools give New Yorkers access to benefits, housing, food, legal, and other services.
Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, along with a team of researchers, tapped into publicly available data to produce USAFacts, which gathers and presents data on government spending, detailed US demographics, plus a wide variety of other statistics, in a simple, interactive format. Designed to be a politically-neutral, easy-to-understand tool, the goal of USAFacts is to "challenge your assumptions and make for a better informed citizenry."
The U.S. Department of Commerce is working to improve the data tools used in presenting census data for the public to access. The DOC is soliciting feedback from the public to design the tools built by the U.S. government and by private companies on their behalf. You can take this quick user research survey to help them make it better.
New America's Open Technology Institute is hiring a systems analyst to support their work ensuring all communities have open and secure access to the internet. Learn more about OTI here and apply for the position here.
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