Civic News
Code for Philly / Hackathons

Here’s what Philly’s civic hackers are building [Code for Philly Roundup]

As it nears the 100th edition of its weekly meetup, civic hacking group Code for Philly has evolved into a local tech mainstay, attracting developers, entrepreneurs and anyone who wants to learn. Here's the latest.

RSVP for the next meetup on Aug. 6
barb donnini

Barb Donnini is getting college credit to work on Climate Tracker, a project to collect climate and pollution data with devices attached to bikes and buses. (Photo by Juliana Reyes)


This week’s Code for Philly was a special joint meetup with Girl Develop It’s Summer of Open Source Fellowship. Fellows have been attending meetups throughout the summer and working closely with their mentors.

Sungard, the tech giant with headquarters in Wayne, Pa., also had a big presence, with three employees coming to the meetup and one giving a lightning talk. The company also sponsored the event and purchased the food (DiBrunos sandwiches, salad and cake, if you’re curious). Sungard is trying to up their involvement in the local scene, said project manager Justine Chen.

victor lourng

(Photo by Juliana Reyes)


Victor Lourng, organizer of Philly’s High School Hackers meetup and current PennApps Fellow at dev firm Zivtech.


  • School District Budget Visualization: A large group that includes Yash Prabhu, a developer at Drama Fever’s Narberth office, Girl Develop It organizer Cat Farman and a School District grant writer is working to improve this 2014 EdTech hackathon project.
  • Philly Open Health: a project to make data from Philly’s Office of HIV Planning more accessible. It was also recently featured GDI Open Source Fellow Gelsey Torres is working on this project with others.
  • Wheelchair Accessible Transit Route Checker: GDI Open Source Fellow Leeann Kinney is working to improve the design and user experience of this tool, built at #hack4access by developer Jim Smiley, which lets you check SEPTA stops to see if they’re wheelchair accessible. (This disclosure: Smiley is’s contributing web developer.)
  • Temple University research assistant Sal Giorgi is building a tool that’s like “CodeAcademy for electrical engineering,” he said. It’s part of a National Science Foundation-funded project led by Dr. Chang-Hee Won and will be used by Temple undergrads.

(Photo by Juliana Reyes)


For the second week in a row, Chief Data Officer Tim Wisniewski led an Intro to Building Web Apps class at Code for Philly. The goal was to build a web app using any city data set by the end of the class.

Census staffer Noemi Mendez Eliasen spoke to Code for Philly about how developers can use census data. Check out resources here and here.

Companies: Girl Develop It / SunGard

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