ICCM RHoK in DC and Hacking for NYC OEM

Phew. Quite a lot of acronyms. So without further ado;

  • ICCM – International Crisis Mappers Conference
  • RHoK – Random Hacks of Kindness
  • DC – Washington DC
  • NYC OEM – New York City, Office of Emergency Management

After the Rethinking Cities conference in Barcelona, I was travelling to DC for the conference for Crisis Mapping ICCM. I was hoping for a continuously eye opening conference from the cutting edge. However this wasn’t to be, see here for wider details. Serendipitously I then got pulled into Code for Change event, hacking for the NYC OEM. They wanted something with a workflow and tasking system that would allow citizens to report problems with fallen electricity lines, snow drifts and abandoned cars and the such like. After a short sprint and a great meet with the guys and gals at mWater it was off to DC for ICCM.

Heather Leeson and Willow Burgh were exemplary in getting a bright bunch of hackers together for the hackathon. I was pitching a new API for Taarifa, following REST-ful principles. The idea behind having an open reporting platform is great, however we also want the data we collect to be open as well. Also we’re starting to look at seriously integrating sensors into Taarifa, so the data can come in from sensors and get pushed out.

Pressor Sensor


Above is a pressure sensor which Sam Wilkinson hacked on during the Washington DC hackathon while he was in Southampton (hands across the ocean!). Myself and Jeremy Baron (good to meet you!) where formulating the API, but were starting out as Django beginners. Needless to say we didn’t get to the point which Sam got in England, however we did know a little more about REST APIs and Django.

Combined with some tablecloth design and interface work – done while having dinner in Front Page Restaurant on Dupont Circle literally on the table cloth! We somehow got 2nd prize in the hackathon. It really shows how the Taarifa community is pulling together, with new taarifans complementing existing ones, across the world. I’m constantly astonished.

Written on the train from Nottingham to London St. Pancras and submitted just before the train pulled into the station (51.5362298,-0.129432)


Author: Mark Iliffe

Traveller, Programmer, Geospatialist and Motorcyclist

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