Silicon Prairie News

The nine teams of Hack Omaha, a public data competition

April 14, 2012 by Danny Schreiber

Nate Benes of the HSW Project (left) speaks with Hack Omaha mentor Ben Vankat.

Hack Omaha, a weekend programming competition during which participants are challenged to turn a local dataset of public government information into something useful, is off and running with more than 50 developers, designers, journalists and civic instigators gathered in the Omaha World-Herald building's first and second floors. The inaugural event kicked off Friday evening with presentations from Matt Waite, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln journalism professor, and our own Dusty Davidson, the CEO of Silicon Prairie News and co-founder of Layeredi. Over lunch today, Chris Augeri, PhD, the lead curator for the MightyMoRiver project, also presented.

Matt Waite helped to inspire ideas around data-drive apps by presenting past and current projects of his own, including the Pulitzer Prize winning website PolitiFact.

Update April 16 - When published, this post reported eight teams at Hack Omaha. The competition had nine teams. This post has been edited to reflect that fact.

Run much like a Startup Weekend, participants will have until 6 p.m. tomorrow to put together a prototype and slide deck and then deliver a short pitch to a panel of judges, consisting of civic and industry leaders, journalists and developers.

What makes Hack Omaha unique, however, is that for an app to compete, it'll need to involve some set of local government data (Hack Omaha provided several). The projects will be judged on revelation – "all products should answer a question or tell people something they didn't know – completion, creativity and design.

More than 50 developers, designers, journalists and civic instigators are spending their weekend in the Omaha World-Herald building in downtown Omaha.

Learn more about Hack Omaha: "World-Herald to host programming competition Hack Omaha in April"

Here are the nine projects of the inaugural Hack Omaha:

Description: An interactive Omaha crime heat map

Data: Crime

Team (from left): Nick Wertzberger, Ryan Stille, Todd Hatcher, Nick Nisi, Trevan Hetzel and Doug Martin (not pictured)

Description: "The Price is Right" for stolen property values

Data: Crime property

Team (from left): Jerod Santo and Zack Leatherman


Play Safe Omaha

Description: Map of safe places for your kids to play

Data: Parks directory from City of Omaha

Team: Rob Jensen


Valuation Comparison Interface

Description: A way to see property value with statistical analysis, such as seeing price of other properties on a curve

Data: Property valuations from Douglas County

Team (from left): Jack Byrnes, Mitch Barry and Jay Hannah (not pictured)


HSW Project

Description: Showing relationships that form between donors and legislators

Data: Campaign finance

Team (from left): Anne Marie Weiner, Jordan Kellerstrass, Chris McMacken, Ross Nelson, Dave Loyall and Nate Benes (not pictured)


Slum Lord Next Door

Description: Tool to search your neighborhood for major landowners and code violators

Data: Land parcel owners, building code violations and home sales

Team (from left): Nate Smith, Patrick Keaveny, Brian Smith, Julia Smith, Eric Burns and Matt Reinsch


Is It Clean

Description: Mobile app that makes it easy to find out if where you're going to eat is safe

Data: Restaurant inspections

Team (from left): Jerrid Kimball, Christian Burk, Hasani Hunter and Evan Johnson


Omaha Food Fight

Description: A mobile game where you try to guess which restaurants have the best food inspection ratings.

Data: Restaurant inspections


Team (bottom, from left): Matt Steele, Mike Ask, Nate Ryan and Steve Samson


Voting Registration App

Description: An app making voter registration data easy to search

Data: Voter registration

Team (from left): Stephen Stewart, Adam West and Jeff Kastl (not pictured)

Credits: Photos by Danny Schreiber. Google+ Hangout screenshot courtesy of Matt Steele.

Disclosure: Silicon Prairie News is a media sponsor of Hack Omaha.

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