Tag Archives: Bogota

Hacks/Hackers Bogota Develops New Digital Map: Mi Bogotá Verde

Participants of the first Hacks/Hackers Bogotá hackathon gather for a group photo.

Mi Bogotá Verde, a new, crowdsourced digital map that will track solid waste disposal and other garbage concerns is just a few weeks away from going online in Bogotá.

Hacks/Hackers Bogotá developed this map during its first hackathon Aug. 11.

We got together with the idea of putting together a general environmental map, but as is often the case with a hackathon, what comes in is not necessarily what comes out.

However, we stayed on topic, and ended up with a digital map that will seek citizen input to monitor garbage problems in this city of more than 8 million people.

A screenshot of the map in development.

What is going to make this map stand out is our thumbs-up, thumbs-down approach to the solid waste problem, even in this first phase.

We are kicking off with just three main categories — good practices for dealing with solid waste, bad practices and verified reports. With time, the map will expand to include other urban environmental concerns.

In other words, rather than treating this as a crisis map around solid waste concerns, we will also show where and when something is done right. And we are using the open-source Ushahidi mapping platform to achieve this goal.

The slogan for the map, “Entre todos lo lograremos” also applies to the 20 plus people who showed up for the hackathon. We think it’s a terrific start for a chapter that just came into being in April 2012.

The mapping project was decided upon by a vote at the second Hacks/Hackers Bogotá meeting in late May. A volunteer organizing committee met periodically in June and July to get things going and keep the momentum up.

And when we all got together, the momentum was definitely there, first through our brainstorming and then with our get-down-to-it attitude from all who were there — a mix of journalists, entrepreneurs, designers, developers and engineers.

Brainstorming a strategic planThe group works up outreach strategy and more shares thoughts.

We divided into three groups to get our work done — communications, strategy and technology.
“I love the topic,” said Diana Salazar, who works in strategic digital communications. “And I think this interdisciplinary approach is important to generate optimum results.”

We had lots of help. HubBOG, which fosters co-working and entrepreneurship, opened up one of their workspaces. There was participant spillover from the members and organizers of Bogodev, a meetup group of Web and mobile developers and Bogotech, an organization of entrepreneurs and technology enthusiasts.

Technology TeamLuis Hernando Aguilar, standing, explains a point to other members of the technology team at the Hacks/Hackers Bogota hackathon.

The International Center for Journalists, through its Knight International Journalism Fellow in Colombia, Hacks/Hackers co-organizer, Ronnie Lovler provided snacks. Co-organizer Renata Cabrales, social media editor at El Tiempo, got us some great pre-hackathon coverage.

As an added bonus, we were able to be part of the hemispheric initiative, #hacklatam, that connected us and another Bogota group with Miami, Buenos Aires and Santiago in a first effort at virtual regional collaboration.

But even though our first hackathon is over, the work goes on through our Google group. Other chapter members who could not attend the hackathon are contacting us to get involved.

With the commitment of hackathon participants and the growing interest of other chapter members who want to get on board, we expect Mi Bogota Verde, to be up and running before the end of the month. For now, you can also follow us on Twitter at #BogmapaAmbiental.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

New Hacks/Hackers chapter forms in Bogota

Hacks/Hackers Bogota logo Bogota, Colombia now has a Hacks/Hackers chapter and we are excited to be a new addition to the Hacks/Hackers family.

Our Bogota group is already up and running with plans for a hackathon on Aug. 11 to build a crowdsourced map to assess environmental issues in Colombia’s capital city.

We took that decision at our second meeting at the end of May — when 40 hacks and hackers voted to make that the first chapter project — a proposal put forward by co-organizers Ronnie Lover, a Knight International Journalism Fellow in Colombia and Renata Cabrales, social media editor at El Tiempo newspaper. Formation of the chapter is part of Lovler’s fellowship mandate.

The idea is to establish a website for citizens to report on environmental issues – issues like cleaning up a park in a specific neighborhood, addressing city-wide water pollution or highlighting the daily drama of maneuvering through Bogota’s never-ending traffic jams and gridlock.

We are looking for sponsors and partners to maintain the map once we build it and launch it and are reaching out to governmental and non-governmental environmental organizations for content and local developers and media organizations for sponsorship.

The quick growth of Bogota’s Hacks/Hackers chapter is an indication of just how much journalists and developers wanted something like Hacks/Hackers here. We were officially recognized as a chapter less than a month after we held our first exploratory meeting and now have 120 members. We see possibilities for additional chapters to be set up in other Colombian cities. The Bogota chapter is perhaps the newest international chapter and one of just five in Latin America.

Other proposals for projects we hope to pick up at a later date include a plan to develop greater security for mobile apps, data-management programs to make public information more accessible to the public and other data-visualization projects.

Now, of course, we have to deliver. The next step is to lay the groundwork for the plan that will put our Bogota chapter to work on the crowdsourced environmental map, by forming teams on the hacks and the hackers side of our equation to get ready for our August hackathon.

Tags: ,