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Web app to visualize risks of fire station ‘brown outs’: Code for Philly projects

Sometimes innovation in tech doesn't get an official launch. Here are a some projects in various stages of development at Code for Philly, a local group of civic hackers that meets weekly around the city.

Teamwork looks like this. (GIF via
Full Disclosure: This author regularly attends Code for Philly meetings and has worked on Station Down.

Sometimes innovation in tech doesn’t get an official launch.

Here are a some projects in various stages of development at Code for Philly, a local group of civic hackers that meets weekly around the city. (This author is part of Code for Philly.)

  • The White House mentioned Clean Air Council‘s Open Climate Tracker as an example of of The President’s Clean Air Initiative.  The project is attempting to use sensors placed throughout the city to record temperature and climate readings.
  • Amber Heilman started a project in mid February she titled Station Down. Her aim is to highlight the Philadelphia Fire Department‘s policy of rolling station brown outs, which she worries is hurting public safety. The project’s aim is to load fire station locations along with fire data into a geo-spatial database to determine whether fire firefighters ever need to travel farther to get to a fire because a closer station has been temporarily closed. The project has been hampered of late, because in spite of the explosion of open government data in Philadelphia, information on fires is not readily available. Full disclosure, the author of this post has worked on this project.
  • Jillian Gierke volunteers twice a week as an ESL teacher for the Garces Foundation program “English for the Restaurant.” Her class is predominantly Philadelphia restaurant workers and she’s noticed them having trouble pronouncing words. She hasn’t seen a tablet app that matches her curriculum and liked the opportunity to learn to code so she’s been dropping in periodically to build one. Her code is on Github.
  • CyclePhilly has been submitted to the Apple Store and is eyeing a May launch. The project was developed to allow Philly cyclists to record their bike routes. The aggregated data will help the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission prepare for future city bike lanes. Find it on Code for Philly here. 

Code for Philly next meets this Tuesday, April 1st.

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