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Azavea and Knight-Mozilla OpenNews Announce Hacks for Democracy, a Hackathon for Elections and Politics


During this multi-day hackathon developers, designers and data analysts will be invited to create apps that contribute to improving democratic institutions.

Philadelphia, PA, September 5, 2012 – Azavea, an award winning geospatial analysis (GIS) software development company and Knight-Mozilla OpenNews invite civic software developers, public officials, journalists, data analysts, and designers to participate in Hacks for Democracy, a multi-day hackathon focused on elections and politics.  A brainstorming session will take place at the Azavea office on Friday, September 14 from 6:30pm-8:30pm before the main weekend hackathon on Saturday, September 15 and Sunday, September 16 hosted by Venturef0rth.  The best projects will be awarded prizes at the end of the weekend.  The hackathon will then be followed by a series of follow-up events, culminating in a second round of judging for the most-improved projects on Friday, October 5, one month before the U.S general election. For more information, visit: www.hacksfordemocracy.org

Democracy is not inevitable or a given; it must be sustained and strengthened by each generation. Today, American democracy is challenged by unlimited political contributions, polarized legislatures, gerrymandered districts and opaque processes.  But efforts such as the Voting Information Project, open government data repositories, online voting, Sunlight Labs and ParliamentWatch have demonstrated that technology can make an important contribution toward improving democratic institutions.

This fall is going to be a hard-fought election in the United States.  In addition to electing the President and Congress, most state legislatures will be selected using new district boundaries and many local officials will have to submit their qualifications to their constituents.  Hacks for Democracy’s goal is to bring teams of citizens together to collaborate on civic apps that will make a positive impact this election season.   Software developers, designers and data analysts will be invited to create innovative and useful apps that leverage data from a wide variety of sources, such as Sunlight Labs, OMB watch, Freedom Speaks, Project Vote Smart, the Center for Responsive Politics and Azavea’s Cicero API.

The full event schedule and locations are as follows:

Fri, Sept 14, 6:30pm – 8:30pm, API and Project Idea Presentations, Azavea, 340 N 12th St, Suite 402

Sat, Sept 15, 9am – 5pm, Hackathon, Venturef0rth, 417 N 8th St, 2nd fl, Philadelphia, PA  19123

Sun, Sept 16, 9am – 5pm, Hackathon, Venturef0rth, 417 N 8th St, 2nd fl, Philadelphia, PA  19123

Mon, Sept 17, 6pm – 9pm, Hack evening, Azavea, 340 N 12th St, Suite 402

Mon, Sept 24, 6pm – 9pm, Hack evening, Azavea, 340 N 12th St, Suite 402

Mon, Oct 1, 6pm – 9pm, Hack evening, Azavea, 340 N 12th St, Suite 402

Fri, Oct 5, 6:30pm – 8:30pm, Final Judging and Awards, Azavea, 340 N 12th St, Suite 402

The event’s organizing sponsors are Azavea and Knight-Mozilla OpenNews.  VentureF0rth is the venue sponsor.  SecondMuse, Jarvus Innovations, ElectNext, Esri, and Cicero API are event sponsors.

For more information and to register, visit: www.hacksfordemocracy.org. To submit a project for the event, write up a paragraph at https://www.hackerleague.org/hackathons/hacks-for-democracy

About Azavea – Azavea is an award-winning geospatial analysis (GIS) software development firm specializing in the creation of location-based web and mobile software as well as geospatial analysis services. Azavea is a certified B Corporation that applies geographic data and technology to promote the emergence of more dynamic, vibrant, and sustainable communities while advancing the state-of-the-art through research.  Each of Azavea’s projects, products and pro bono engagements showcases this commitment. Find more at https://www.azavea.com.

If you would like more information about Azavea or to schedule an interview with Robert Cheetham, Azavea CEO and President, please contact Amy Trahey at (215) 558 – 6184 or e-mail atrahey@azavea.com.

About Knight-Mozilla OpenNews – Knight-Mozilla OpenNews is about building an ecosystem to help journalism thrive on the open web. It’s about producing next-generation web solutions that solve real problems in news. It’s about supporting communities of developers and journalists as they make, learn and invent together. And it’s about deploying fellows—and code—into news organizations to collaborate and innovate in new ways.  Find more at http://mozillaopennews.org/