(Photo courtesy of Tess Wilson)
Editor’s note: Every week, Technical.ly publishes a weekly email newsletter on Pittsburgh’s civic tech community as part of our new Open Data PGH series. Below is this week’s edition. Sign up for the newsletter by clicking here. Thanks!
This week in Open Data PGH
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh outreach librarian Tess Wilson takes the writerly reins this week with a thoughtful essay on librarians’ role in the civic tech movement:
- Wilson writes that she really understood “the crux” of what, exactly, libraries have to do with this type of tech when leading a Civic Data Zine Camp alongside The Labs @ CLP last summer, where teens examined an issue by employing open data and civic information resources and turned those learnings into zines.
- This smart thing: “When I talk about open data, I talk about opportunity and agency — the opportunity to investigate and the agency to disrupt. And this becomes especially vital when we consider who the public library serves.”
Think about this: Seeing Pittsburgh from different angles
Alexa Marzina wrote a blog post about starting a new internship at the Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center and assisting with a data mapping class on her first day. She discovered there were markers and stickers involved, which helped assuage some of her anxiety, and gained this takeaway from the class: Data mapping in Pittsburgh is not boring.
Also, a new sightseeing tour on Pittsburgh’s rivers will provide insights into the region’s tech contributions. Proceeds from the “PGH 101: An Intro to Innovation” tour, by the Rivers of Steel Heritage Corp., will underwrite STEM programs for Pittsburgh-area students.
In the 412
Tech news from around the city:
- A coalition of Pittsburgh advocacy groups has filed a brief supporting local media outlets seeking to make public the city’s bid to Amazon for its second headquarters.
- Bossa Nova Robotics, whose retail robots are being used in Walmart stores, received $29 million in new funding.
- The Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse launched a website aimed at helping life sciences ideas become full-blown companies.
Cool thing of the week: Duolingo and the “Something Like Home” film
Company leaders at East-Liberty based language app Duolingo were puzzled by its data showing that the top languages learned in several countries was the country’s own — Norwegian in Norway, Swedish in Sweden, for instance. The top language studied in southern Florida was English.
They dug deeper into the data and found the numbers were due to refugees learning the language of their new home countries: “It’s not just the data that tells stories, it’s the people,” said Duolingo designer Jack Morgan.
Pittsburgh photojournalist Justin Merriman directed and shot the footage for “Something Like Home,” a film documenting the journeys of several Syrian refugees who uses Duolingo to help learn new languages. One of the refugees in the film, a woman named Noor, was present at the Pittsburgh screening of the film last week (her last name was withheld for her protection).
Go to this
Social Venture Partners holds its 2018 Full Circle Impact Accelerator pitch event from 5:30 to 8 p.m. on June 28. Five nonprofits from SVP’s accelerator cohort — Assemble, All Star Code Pittsburgh, Northern Area Multi-Service Center Refugee Resettlement, Pennsylvania Youth Initiative and the Veterans Breakfast Club — will make presentations showing the positive changes their organizations are having in the Pittsburgh area. Tickets and details for the event are here.
Some other upcoming civic tech-focused events for you to check out:
- Code for Pittsburgh held a crash course in using APIs last night.
- Pittsburgh Inclusive Innovation’s meetup on June 28 is Dividing Lines: Film Screening and Digital Inclusion Discussion. The short film “Dividing Lines” highlights digital exclusion in three communities. A discussion will follow about digital inclusion and ways to bridge the digital divide.
- Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center’s Data 101 series with the Carnegie Library will host lessons finding stories in data on July 25.
And other tech events:
- Code & Supply is hosting a fundraiser for its scholarship fund on July 7 at the Frick Art & Historical Center. And in the coming weeks, look out for details on its first-ever micro-grant competition “showcasing innovative and emerging projects in Pittsburgh.”
Find your next gig
Hiring? Let us know and we’ll spread the word here:
- Uber is hiring a senior system safety engineer in Pittsburgh.
- The University of Pittsburgh library system is hiring for a number of positions in digital scholarship, digital humanities and and data librarianship.
- Oculus VR is hiring a hardware engineering lead for its Pittsburgh office.
- Amazon’s Pittsburgh office is seeking an IT support engineer.
- Plus Consulting is hiring a SugarCRM developer.
This newsletter is a pilot alongside our joint reporting project with PublicSource on open data trends in Pittsburgh that’s supported by Heinz Endowments. Help us shape it: Respond directly to this email with your ideas, stories we should be reading or comments on our coverage.
Until next week,
Julie Zeglen, Open Data PGH project editor + Kim Lyons, Open Data PGH reporter
Civic technologists: Apply to speak at the 2019 Code for America Summit
Get access to 100 services on the new website for Philly’s health department
On The Market: Help the City rethink its approach to software development
Why Deacom’s team prioritizes collaboration and continuous improvement
5 on-ramps to the world of open data
We’re hosting a Slack AMA with civic technologists this Friday
How is Philly voter turnout doing? Here’s what one live projection says
Engineers have Vistar Media’s Philly office all to themselves
Sign-up for daily news updates from Technical.ly Philadelphia