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On June 6-7, 2015, designers, entrepreneurs, technologists, government leaders, and other innovators will convene in Providence and Middletown, RI for the first dual-city Rhode Island Hackathon. As part of the team who is organizing this event, I’d like to invite you to join us. The event is free of charge and open to the public.

Linked by a video connection from a concurrent San Francisco, CA Hackathon, the Deputy U.S. Chief Technology Officer Ed Felten will participate in a coast-to-coast “fireside chat” with hackathon participants at Rhode Island’s new co-working center.

As part of the National Day of Civic Hacking, the Rhode Island Hackathon will celebrate and foster community collaboration at the intersection of technology and public service. This year’s program will include the development of a “Maker Map” to visualize the Rhode Island network of “makers”—inventors, do-it-yourself tinkerers, and community members who contribute to the innovation ecosystem by designing, building, and sharing their creations. The Maker Map that will be unveiled at the inaugural National Maker Faire in Washington, D.C.

The event will launch at the Rhode Island State House Rotunda on Saturday June 6th at 10am with invited speakers from government and the private sector, including Chief Digital Officer of the State of Rhode Island, Thom Guertin, members of the Office of the Rhode Island Governor (Deputy Chief of Staff, Kevin Gallagher, and Director of Public Engagement, Gabe Amo), Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Meredith Lee, and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Senior Advisor for Making, Stephanie Santoso.

Activities in Providence will conclude at 2pm on Saturday June 6th so teams can migrate to NewPORT.WORKS, Tech Plaza 4, 88 Silva Lane, Middletown, RI to work on the Maker Map. The Maker Map portion of the Hackathon will begin by contemplating what it means to identify and connect makers, both with the familiar map metaphor, but also contemplating how to visualize a network when DIY materials, distributed collaboration tools, and fast shipping collapse distances to near-zero. With the work on an original Open Source Maker Map by Renee DiResta, Nick Pinkston, and Justin Hileman available to us, the hackathon will focus on features such as:

  • Creating a backend for editing, moderating, and annotating contributed information
  • Allowing individual makers and organizations to provide more details (such as types of events produced, what population they serve, their facilities, and their relationship to other makers and organizations).
  • We’ll also be looking at making sure we’re using the right back-end for the system.

I hope you can join us for what’s going to be an incredible event. We are asking that you use separate registration for each of the locations so we can plan food, seating, and beverages accordingly. We’d love to see you at both events, so please register for both if you plan to attend both:

  • To register for the RI State House activities on Saturday, June 6th, use this Eventbrite link.
  • To register for the Middletown/Newport hackathon/coding efforts Saturday 3pm – Sunday noon, use this Eventbrite link.

See you this weekend!