"If you can't code, you're not Googling hard enough": Chris Whong - Technical.ly Baltimore

Dev

May 27, 2014 8:15 am

“If you can’t code, you’re not Googling hard enough”: Chris Whong

Civic hackers Shea Frederick and Chris Whong were at Betamore last week to talk about trends in open data and how attainable using technology and open source software to better understand your community can be.
Betamore cofounder Mike Brenner is a partner with Technical.ly Baltimore, which works on occasion from the Federal Hill incubator.

You don’t have to be a coder to appreciate civic hacking in action.

In a talk at Refresh Baltimore on Wednesday, hobbyist civic hackers Shea Frederick, and Chris Whong spoke about how they got into the realm and its applications.

“I’m not a school-trained software developer,” Whong said during the Wednesday evening event at Betamore in Federal Hill. “It’s all these open source tools, all these great community management tools. All that lowers the barrier to entry in the sense that people with not a lot of experience can pick this up very fast.”

Frederick is best known for creating a map of Baltimore’s vacant properties cross-referenced with demographic and income data. He also created SpotAgent, a mobile app that uses Baltimore city parking citation data to determine if a user is likely to get a ticket where and when they park.

“These two sets of data exist on their own, but they’re infinitely more valuable when you put them together on a map,” said Frederick, who was recently with Aol/Ad.com but now does freelance IT consulting.

Whong is a former Baltimore resident who now works as a data solutions architect in New York for Socrata. His hacking projects have included a video map of bike thefts in Philadelphia and a heat map of taxi trips taken in New York.

Whong recounted having to take a hard drive to New York’s regulatory office to get the taxi data loaded onto it. Since then, he said, he is often asked by others to pass the data along, and does.

Both talked about the wave of municipal and state open data laws in places like New York City that make their work possible. Whong demonstrated how a map of New York City property tax bills worked by scraping data from online PDFs into a CSV file.

For those who aren’t trained coders, the pair said it isn’t too hard to become a civic hacker. Their tools include the JavaScript library Leaflet and the mobile-first framework Bootstrap.

“If you can’t code, you’re not Googling hard enough,” Whong said.

Advertisement

-30-
LEAVE A COMMENT

Advertisement

Startup Grind Baltimore returns with a new, nomadic format

MICA’s Unravel the Code brings together the analog and digital sides of making

The Maryland Drone Summit is gathering UAV enthusiasts in Timonium

SPONSORED

Baltimore

How Think|Stack and Year Up are cultivating local tech talent

Baltimore

Terbium Labs

Analyst

Apply Now
Owings Mills, Maryland

Mind Over Machines

Consultant (Software Developer)

Apply Now
Baltimore

Protenus

Data Engineer

Apply Now

Want to give a talk? DevOpsDays Baltimore is taking proposals

Light City’s innovation conferences are ‘pay what you can’ in 2018

B’more Creatives is closing at the end of the year. Here’s how it’s going out in style

SPONSORED

Baltimore

Let these free workshops help your business really take off

Baltimore

Protenus

Front-End Developer

Apply Now
8 Market Pl, Suite #402, Baltimore, MD, 21202

PaRaBaL

Development Support Engineer

Apply Now
8 Market Pl, Suite #402, Baltimore, MD, 21204

Parabal Inc.

Enterprise Mobility Engineer

Apply Now

Sign-up for regular updates from Technical.ly

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!