Code & Coffee - A First Month’s Recap

It’s hard to believe January is already over, but it’s been a great start to a new year for us at Open Data Delaware! The star of the show so far: Code & Coffee! Our new partnership with Delaware Public Libraries is proving to be an amazing opportunity for our group. In just one month, we’ve been able to meet, learn, work, and grow together more regularly than ever before.

Each week, we start at 10am in the Brandywine Hundred Library’s Program Room on the first floor. We have an open door policy and welcome anyone curious to join us at any time. (We even have a friendly little sign to point out the way.)

We begin with the coffee and foods, of course, and spend a few minutes chatting. Like any successful civic tech group, we’re not just a coalition; we’re friends, and we like to chat. After a bit, one of our hosts will rally us back together and give a brief presentation highlighting any updates or news for the group. At this time, each project group will have the opportunity to call out for any specific needs they have to meet their work goals for the week.

Additionally, if you’re interested in starting your own project, this is a great time to find others who are interested in ideating and incubating new ideas.

One of the greatest things about the evolution of ODDE is our community. While our data is inherently open, we are, too. You don’t need any technical skill to attend and be a part. Whatever your skill or talent is, we will find a place for it! And if you’re a front-end developer, well, then you’re a unicorn and we need you, because we don’t have many of those. (If you’re not and you’re looking for a challenge, why not become one?)

When the intros are wrapped up and everyone has a table to join, we’ll get started on our projects in a freestyle form. These projects could be anything from long-running group efforts, to working through a tutorial with a partner, or just sharing a space to work on individual ventures.

After only four meetups, we’re already starting to see some inspiring collaboration on Open Data projects. What do we have to show?

  • School Choice Sherpa

    The oldest of our projects is finding it’s wings again with some new talent and brilliant ideas. This group is working to make choosing a school easier on Delaware parents…because right now, it’s anything but easy.

    When finished, they’ll have a fully functional website that will walk parents through the step-by-step of what choices they have, the ups and downs of each school, and all the info they need to navigate the school choice process within the state. Their biggest update for January: they have a gitHub repo, a Trello, and a plan!

  • Nursing Home Finder

    A brand new and exciting idea is to offer a website to aid caretakers in finding a truly good aged care facility for their loved ones in need. Using a host of open data available, this project hopes to provide an honest, friendly guide to make difficult choices easier and help provide more confidence in making decisions.

    Their idea is young, but the zeal is contagious! Currently this project is growing through research and coordination to find the needed data and a working design plan. Watching this project grow should be very enlightening for our whole community.

  • Displaying Data on a Python Graph

    For a fun learning project, one group has set out on studying how to use a set of education data from Delaware’s new Open Data Portal to build a visual graph. What technologies are they using? They’ve decided to build with a popular programming language called Python and the and pandas libraries that go along with it.

    After an energetic pow-wow at last Saturday’s meetup, they were very excited to announce that they have a file! We’re eagerly awaiting see their efforts come to life.

Most would probably think to sleep in on frigid Saturdays, but it’s so exciting to see pieces of our community braving the weather and coming together to break donuts and carefully sip coffee over keyboards with us.

We’ve accomplished much in our first month of weekly meetups. Now it’s time for us to tackle our shiny new Trello boards, assign project managers, and doodle out long lines of code that will eventually create our first finished projects.

If you haven’t already, RSVP on our Meetup page and be a part next week! If January was exciting, February will prove to be even more so as we jump start the Spring coding season early. Join the year’s first workshop as we partner with University of Delaware’s Horn Program to learn about Design Thinking & Civic Tech. This will be an awesome event to network and get involved in Delaware’s civic tech community.

Then get ready for upcoming talks, more workshops, and special guests; all leading up to a very special Open Data Challenge challenge in June!

See you on Saturday!
Written on February 6, 2017 by Aiyani Martin