[Event] Civic Hacking Committee => SIG => Meeting Tue. 4/24 @ 6:30 PM

Hey everyone, it’s been on my mind for a while to roll Civic Hacking into a SIG under another committee. Well, VCC has stepped up and offered to host us, so unless anyone comes to the meeting to dissent or offer up other alternatives (or otherwise communicates it to me between now and then), we’ll change to be a SIG under VCC.

Time: 4/24 6:30-7 PM
Place: Conference Room

It’ll be our pleasure to continue providing occasional insight into open data tools, mapping utilities, and bridging those with the latest software development tools in order to build a better community, but we don’t need to be a separate committee.

(Edit: The event will appear on the Calendar soon. Stay tuned!)

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Ok, it’s now on the 4/27 consent agenda! The results of our meeting’s official business was to change from being an independent committee to being a SIG under VCC. This motion was ratified passed with 4 yeas, 0 nays, and 3 abstentions (one being the VCC chair, another being a board member, and the third with this being his first meeting).

This will afford Civic Hacking more visibility, as VCC is a prominent committee in the pursuit of computer science, which is a big part of our endeavors. As your outgoing “chair” of this “committee” (going on four years!), we will be in good hands and should expect increased bandwidth and support to take on exciting projects.

As for the fun stuff, some of the project ideas we discussed in our brief 30-minute meeting (now I regret not making it longer, it was a good discussion):

  • Tracking DART buses accurately so you know exactly when to arrive at the bus stop
  • Stoplight sensor to help emergency responders time for green lights (because apparently not all cities have capability for them to change the lights remotely)
  • Train sensor to tell you when the barricades are down (such as on Valwood, so you know to either take Belt Line or Valley View for instance)
  • App that tells people to get over when emergency vehicles are present (besides a siren)

Class ideas:

  • Leveraging open data
  • Simple ways to create Web-based maps and/or leveraging OpenStreetMaps
  • Slicing topological data to make physical maps on the laser cutter or CNC router

This is the most lively discussion we’ve had in a very long time and I hope the momentum will continue.

It is actually expensive for that stuff. That’s the main barrier. I have a friend that does traffic lights for a living, thats the answer he told me.

I’ve been thinking about this for a while and was contemplating using computer vision to solve the problem of at least collecting the state of the lights at an intersection. It’d be interesting to talk to him to see if there’s a way we could at least read data from the control box if it’s not cheap to actually change stops remotely.