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Hacks/Hackers São Paulo: The First Hackathon

Developers and journalists gather for the first Hacks/Hackers São Paulo hackathon.

Hacks/Hackers São Paulo held its first hackathon on Oct. 20 during the W3C Brazil Conference, alongside the 2012 PERL international community conference. The hackathon, which drew about 50 people, happened during, an important gathering of the tech community in Brazil.

The hackathon attracted a large number of developers and a few journalists. Nevertheless the mix was right, as journalists helped different groups with their data mining skills. W3C, which joined ICFJ, OKFN and Abraji to create Hacks/Hackers São Paulo, also provided a team of front-end developers who helped refine hackathon ideas and improve the overall output.

Six hack groups formed and presented the following projects:

Kako Fernandes and Raphael Agnelli created a graphical interface for a large dataset about congressional cabinet spending.

University student profiles
Hacker Diego Rabatone led a project to create an application that gives graphical interpretation of data released by the University of São Paulo. The code is on GitHub.

Para onde foi voto (Where My Vote Went)
Raphael Molesin improved on a project created during a previous hackaton. This time, he aggregated new data about local politicians’ spending and personal wealth.
Hacker Vitor Batista basically managed to hack all the Brazilian senate’s so-called open data and he plans to dump it into a more friendly website,

São Paulo Hackdash
Rogérios Alcantara and friends proposed adapting a platform that collects ideas for future hackathons. It’s inspired by the Hacks/Hackers Buenos Aires HackDash.

Esplanada Aberta
This is a project by W3C professionals who have drawn a styled map of Brasilia’s main avenue — the place where our government ministers work — and then mapped the status of Brazil’s Freedom of Information laws by each government department.

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Hacks/Hackers São Paulo holds its first hackathon 20 October

Hacks/Hackers São Paulo MySQL workshop
Members of Hacks/Hackers São Paulo meet to discuss MySQL and plan their first hackathon.

Hacks/Hackers São Paulo — launched in July as the first group in Brazil — will hold its first hackathon 20 October during the W3C Brazil Conference and alongside the 2012 international PERL community conference. The event will bring the most active participants from previous meetings together to present their ideas for hacking relevant datasets and building useful applications for journalism and news-related technologies.

So far, the chapter in Brazil´s largest city counts 130 members on its Meetup page and has held three meetings. All of them were  driven by the discussion of how to explore the large ammounts  of data. This is a particularly timely theme because the country is going through a municipal elections period and several news apps are being created to explore the data behind candidates and their proposals.

The most recent meetup, which took place at São Paulo municipal chamber, focused on the use of Structured Query Language (SQL) as a tool that can be useful for journalists’ investigations. A short workshop on how to install and start using MySQL was given by hacker Wesley Seidel, who is currently helping political scientists to use the software.

Separately, Hacks/Hackers São Paulo members Raphael Molesin and Jonas Abreu, both hackers, have created an application to help voters to decide on their favorite candidate. Called “Em quem eu voto?” (in English, “Who should I vote for?”), the app has a fun quiz format which guides the user through candidates proposals for the city. Now they are inviting journalists to review the proposals and have opened a collaborative spreadsheet to collect more data.

We hope more opportunities to collaborate will arise from our 20 October hackathon. We definitely will tell you everything about it.

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Hacks/Hackers São Paulo covers mobile, data and freedom of information July 16

Credit: Alexandre Diniz/Prefeitura de São Paulo

São Paulo, the most populous city and a thriving cultural hub in South America, will host the first Hacks/Hackers chapter in Brazil. A group of journalists involved with the National Association of Investigative Journalism – Abraji, led by Knight International Fellow of the International Center for Journalists, Gustavo Faleiros, is organizing the first meeting along with Everton Alvarenga, from the Open Knowlege Foundation in Brazil, and 3 other representatives from the W3C local office . The event happens July 16, 7 p.m., in the Folha de S. Paulo auditorium on Alameda Barão de Limeira, 425, 9º andar (See map)

São Paulo has a vibrant ecosystem of journalists and technologists working on meaningful data visualizations, active blogs and mobile applications. Some examples of this work will be shown at the first Hacks/Hackers meeting and the professionals involved will explain the process of creating the projects.

The first meeting will also try to identify potential leaders for working groups on data journalism, web scraping, HTML 5 and digital mapping, among many other subjects. One of the issues brought by W3C representative Vagner Diniz is the importance of the semantic Web and the need for media houses to start opening and linking their data.

The Hacks/Hackers meeting also happens just as Brazil has approved its Freedom of Information Law. Access to government data has increased the interest of media outlets on working with applications that help filter information and make it relevant to the public. Journalist Fabiano Angélico will present the main features of the law and its importance for people working to foster media innovation.

Follow @HacksHackersSP on Twitter.

To learn more about the next Hacks/Hackers São Paulo events and hackathons, sign up for the Meetup group.