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AmericanU’s Apps for the Environment Hack-a-thon Encourages Remote Participation

2011 September 1

When we launched “Apps for the Environment” we aimed to better support the developer environment itself, as well as ask them to create innovate apps with EPA data to promote public health. Now that American University is hosting a hack-a-thon to support this effort and their own “the American Dream is Green” campaign, together we’re working to make remote participation easier for anyone who wants to be part of the team.

American University hosts their hack-a-thon Sept. 3 in impressive new sustainable-technology facilities that will allow apps development to be green from idea to installation, but it’s understandable that some who want to get in on the action won’t be in the District area. American University heard this request, and is working to foster online collaboration using tools including:

Github

- UStream

- Twitter

- Google+ Hangouts

The goal is to help create an environment where you feel part of the team and have access to all the knowledge that will be shared at the hack-a-thon, even if you’re at home in Colorado avoiding mowing your lawn.

As Dan Melton, Technical Director of Code for America, pointed out on Sunlight Lab’s Google Groups page:

“Some of the EPA data is amazing. This summer a few of our coders played around with the epa data api online (http://www.epa.gov/enviro/facts/ef_restful.html). The data was a bit hard to work with/find, so we wrote a few client libraries to help out last month.

Hope they’re helpful at the event!

https://github.com/codeforamerica/epa_python
https://github.com/codeforamerica/epa_ruby
https://github.com/codeforamerica/epa_envirofacts_php

The folks over at Brighter Planet also have data resources they’ve used for their own submissions, that are open for other developers to take advantage of. According to their blog:

“We’re psyched to be submitting a couple of our own apps (Careplane, HootRoot, and Greener Pastures), but we’re confident that using CM1 you can create even better projects in the brief time left until the deadline. May the best apps win!”

These resources and contributions to the developer community hits the bulls-eye of the kind of support and spirit we hope to facilitate through remote participation at American University’s hack-a-thon, as well as overall through Apps for the Environment.

We’re doing our best to deliver what we hope is helpful support for developers, but no one knows how you work best better than you. How do you think we can help developers collaborate remotely for the hack-a-thon, and for Apps for the Environment? Take a look at our developer resources, and let us know how we can work together to create a more sustainable community!

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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