Late August 2014 Meetup
August 27 2014

After an unexpectedly long summer haitus, Code Island resumed our regular meetups at 6pm on Tuesday, August 19th at Tri Lab in Davol Square. In fact, we’ve booked that time at that location on first and third Tuesday of each month through the end of the year. This will be our regular meet-up schedule moving forward.

As one might expect, we spent a good bit of time reviewing the status on current projects. While the community wiki has only progressed slowly since the big National Day of Civic Hacking Wiki-a-thon, the Green and Healthy Home Initiative website is at the preview stage, which is exciting. It may not launch until early 2015 because the last chunk of content needs to be entered by college students…during breaks.

We got more good news on Code Island’s single biggest and most important project right now—the budget visualization tool. Brigade member Brian McGuirk and his colleagues at RI Office of Management and Budget are preparing to release a large amount of Department of Transportation financial data in a format that allows for “project-based” tracking. This method tracks outflows to specific projects as opposed to tracking simple lines of a budget that are too coarse to provide meaningful insight. With these data in this format, the budget visualization tool should let us create a website that lets ordinary Rhode Islander get a much better idea of how much money the state government spends on what.

One exciting new project came from Community Organizer Shawn Selleck. In addition to consulting for the city of Providence on issues of data transparency, Shawn is a board member of RI’s chapter of Common Cause, the good-government non-profit. Under Shawn’s leadership, Common Cause and Code Island are jointly developing a questionnaire, asking political candidates to state their positions on issues of data transparency and public accessibility. More on that soon, because the election is approach fast!

Finally, brigade co-captain Ryan Kelly gave a presentation on GitHub, a social media-era document management and version control system that is transforming how development happens. GitHub will enable us to work collaboratively regardless of our locations and schedules. Ryan has posted some great Intro to Github-type links on our G+ community, if you wanted to check them out.

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