New Hacks/Hackers group forms in Bogota

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Bogota, Colombia now has a Hacks/Hackers group and we are excited to be a new addition to the Hacks/Hackers family.

Our Bogota group is already up and running with plans for a hackathon on Aug. 11 to build a crowdsourced map to assess environmental issues in Colombia’s capital city.

We took that decision at our second meeting at the end of May — when 40 hacks and hackers voted to make that the first group project — a proposal put forward by co-organizers Ronnie Lover, a Knight International Journalism Fellow in Colombia and Renata Cabrales, social media editor at El Tiempo newspaper. Formation of the group is part of Lovler’s fellowship mandate.

The idea is to establish a website for citizens to report on environmental issues – issues like cleaning up a park in a specific neighborhood, addressing city-wide water pollution or highlighting the daily drama of maneuvering through Bogota’s never-ending traffic jams and gridlock.

We are looking for sponsors and partners to maintain the map once we build it and launch it and are reaching out to governmental and non-governmental environmental organizations for content and local developers and media organizations for sponsorship.

The quick growth of Bogota’s Hacks/Hackers group is an indication of just how much journalists and developers wanted something like Hacks/Hackers here. We were officially recognized as a group less than a month after we held our first exploratory meeting and now have 120 members. We see possibilities for additional groups to be set up in other Colombian cities. The Bogota group is perhaps the newest international group and one of just five in Latin America.

Other proposals for projects we hope to pick up at a later date include a plan to develop greater security for mobile apps, data-management programs to make public information more accessible to the public and other data-visualization projects.

Now, of course, we have to deliver. The next step is to lay the groundwork for the plan that will put our Bogota group to work on the crowdsourced environmental map, by forming teams on the hacks and the hackers side of our equation to get ready for our August hackathon.

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