Zachary Leahan  PA Wildflower Selector Update #1

Native plants are really important…

But it is a bit overwhelming to select plants (e.g. wildflowers and grasses). This google sheet + tableau solution is designed to assist as a entry point to further research.

I'm seeking user experience feedback from the Code for Philly community. Also - If anyone wants to help with the database, please join the project.

Josephine Dru  MATchMapper Update #1

February 2021:

We are nearing completion of a working prototype. Our next steps are to:

  • clarify key relationships between data sources and update our models to match,
  • refine the Figma interface and mapping tools,
  • engage potential users and stakeholders for further feedback, and
  • revise both backend and frontend accordingly.

Zachary Leahan  Malvern Recycling Resource Lookup Update #4

The site is live. I found cheap hosting via hostinger and hand coded basic HTML and CSS. I promoted this tool via a Malvern focused Facebook group and it was well received. The goal is for this resource to be continually updated and used as a quarterly input to the PA Dept of Environment Protection database within (

Spencer Snygg Update #26

So we are heating up into the election. We had nearly a thousand visitors this week and hope to continue the growth.

The site was written in AngularJS which is being deprecated next June. This may leave us vulnerable to attack after that. So, we have to rebuild the whole thing in modern Angular. Now would be a great time to let us know of any problems you see or any cool things you would LIKE to see so we can plan for it.

And of course, we can always use coding help.

Spencer Snygg Update #25

So we are heating up into the election. We had nearly a thousand visitors this week and hope to continue the growth.

The site was written in AngularJS which is being deprecated next June. This may leave us vulnerable to attack after that. So, we have to rebuild the whole thing in modern Angular. Now would be a great time to let us know of any problems you see or any cool things you would LIKE to see so we can plan for it.

And of course, we can always use coding help.

Marieke Jackson (Administrator) CHIME: COVID-19 Hospital Impact Model for Epidemics Update #5

We have here a dash application embedded inside a flask app as a context, being served by node. Callbacks work, db works, login / logout works. The test server is live on heroku, and the code is hosted on git. Basic instructions for running locally are in the README. Although this is aimed at UNIX users. The next goal is to write thorough documentation on developing locally and the deployment procedures. If anyone is interested in contributing in the meantime, please join #chime-app!

Zachary Leahan  Malvern Recycling Resource Lookup Update #3

The URL for more info action is working… Next I want to add a click here for Google Maps directions…

I'll need to denote the lat and long for each address then follow the technique outlined here:,(separated%20by%20a%20comma).

I don't think there's a way to parse a gmap mailing address URL…

Ali Jaffar  Workforce Impact Analysis Update #3

The City's Office of Workforce Development has been officially shuttered as part of their new budget, which de-prioritized the economic stability of our city and especially that of its most vulnerable citizens. I am taking this project in-house at Key Medium as part of our Coding For Causes program so as to morph into a self-help tool and will post more about it once something is ready to see. It will replace the website and we already have some amazing community partner nonprofits onboard that will help us address the challenges of those most vulnerable.

It's quite sad that the City has mostly turned their backs and chose to prioritize continuing the immense spending on police budget. Not just that—they chose the continuation of the 10-year tax abatement which is taking some hundreds of millions of prospective taxes away from communities and people who need it the most, gentrifying the whole city, and have proved to be quite a terrible policy in comparison to more nimble cities like Pittsburgh, which didn't de-prioritize it's people but rather doubled-down on them. Kudos to the city for their massive decrease in the wage tax base during COVID and the inability to collect property tax for a decade due to inaffective property tax policy, to say the least.

Marieke Jackson (Administrator) CHIME: COVID-19 Hospital Impact Model for Epidemics Update #4

CHIME 2.0 kickoff!

Due to the model's diminishing returns as the epidemic progresses, the app is going to undergo some model and platform updates so it can continue to be a resource for decision makers!

The next iteration of CHIME development will move to

  1. Make the model it's own package so development of the model happens independently from the platform

  2. Move platform to tech that allows user to import csv

  3. Update model to use better methods of estimating parameters

We're looking for python developers with data modeling (especially Bayesian methods) experience or Dash experience!

Ali Jaffar  Workforce Impact Analysis Update #2

Back to the drawing board/prototyping— we are continuing to help Philadelphians connect with the 20K or so vacant jobs. Companies are still hiring, and people are still unemployed. Not just that—the opportunity to upskill is more important than ever.

Chris Alfano (Administrator) CHIME: COVID-19 Hospital Impact Model for Epidemics Update #2

Code for Philly set up a fork of the repository today to help manage incoming user and contributor interest:

Major efforts in the new repository included:

  • Setting up a documentation site and consolidating knowledge:
  • Developing a kubernetes deployment:
  • Deploying a pre-production version of the application to Linode's LKE managed kubernetes:

Next up

  • Merge improvements from pennsignal's repository
  • Expand documentation on how to test the Kubernetes deployment locally on minikube
  • Automate building container and deploying to LKE on merge to master with GitHub Action workflow
  • Add documentation on how local groups can set up their own production deployment

Michael Chow (Administrator) CHIME: COVID-19 Hospital Impact Model for Epidemics Update #1

Chime is officially launched! See this tweet, and accompanying blog post for more details. The team is now focused on two things:

  1. implementing features requested by government and medical system stakeholders
  2. ensuring we can scale to support the traffic coming in

Help needed

In order to ensure the CHIME team can focus on modeling and interacting with stakeholders, we're looking for help filling the following roles:

  • Project / product management: help with organizing the project. Help make sure that work around explaining and improving the CHIME dashboard is well organized. Help us document the project so volunteers can contribute.
  • Devops: help ensure that the dashboard can handle the increase in traffic. Currently we are running on Heroku, but may switch to Linode, since they have provided free resources.

Nicholas Quigley  Snowcap.Me Update #3

Snow-Capped has been paused due to legal concerns. There is an existing US Patent #10,115,155 titled "Multi-bureau credit file freeze and unfreeze," which is held by some Experian (one of the credit bureaus) executives. After talking to many, many lawyers, I decided I don't want to be sued into oblivion and will not be pursuing Snow-Capped's "one-click" freeze/unfreeze at this time. I've sunset the site and want to thank all of my users and everyone at code for philly who helped me along the way. I am toying with the idea of creating a nice step-by-step freeze/unfreeze walkthrough, hosted at a new domain, Since it's just a walkthrough, the guide won't capture any user data or require an account. I'll be talking to people to determine whether this idea is worth building - let me know your opinion!

Karla Fettich  PAWS Data Pipeline Update #2

After several discussions between PAWS and our wonderful Code for Philly volunteer team, coding is underway! The work is focused on building the initial infrastructure to host the data pipeline (setting up containers for the data processing scripts and for the database), as well as processing scripts to ingest data from 3 sources (donors, volunteers and adopters) and fuzzy-match them across the datasets. Additionally, we are setting up proof-of-concept APIs to allow end users to upload and download datasets. The current project focus and tasks can be found here.

Billy Hanafee  PHLASK: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Water Update #7

Hello Code for Philly community! We are long overdue for a public update on the Code for Philly website. The PHLASK team has been diligently working since the end of the summer, and we now have a launch roadmap for 2020!

We’ve conceived of the project in two interconnected hemispheres: the PHLASK Tech and PHLASK Social Practice.

  • PHLASK Tech: building the tools for the PHLASK Map & App
  • PHLASK Social Practice: building momentum to reach the PHLASK mission

The following outline shows how the two hemispheres will be working towards an ultimate launch of the PHLASK App with the core objectives in each phase.



  • Map Filters
  • Legend
  • PHLASK Tap Data points

PHLASK Social Practice

  • Project Branding
  • Water Data – Sales & Water Quality

Release Beta (January 2020)




  • Dynamic App features
  • Crowdsourcing tool
  • Robust UI/UX

PHLASK Social Practice

  • Build userbase
  • Promotional Activities
  • Improve Map Data
  • Improve Water Data

Launch PHLASK App (June 2020)

Some project highlights from the past several months have included:

  1. Consolidated - established the new platform that will eventually become the workable beta map and eventual PHLASK App
  2. Code for Philly Launchpad 2019 - participated in the Code for Philly Launchpad and welcomed several new project contributors to the team
  3. Rutgers Camden Hackaween 2019 - participated in the Rutgers Hackaween, which planted the seeds for future PHLASK Tap crowdsourcing tools
  4. Enterprise on-boarding kit for Drink Philly Tap coalition - developed a media kit for the Drink Philly Tap coalition to help businesses join the map; first up, La Colombe!
  5. PHLASK Project Census - Took stock of where we've come, who we are, and where we're going to hopefully continue building an inclusive, welcoming working group
  6. Trash Academy #BYObagPHL map takeover - highlighted Mural Arts' Trash Academy's Bring Your Own Bag billboards around the city, encouraging people to use reusable bags

As always, we continue to welcome contributions and support from anyone interested in getting involved. If any of the work in our project Roadmap appeals to you, or if you have other ideas that could help us advance the project mission, please reach out to us on Code for Philly's Slack, channel #phlask

Thank you for PHLasking ^_^

Tara Taylor  Facilitating Thriving Update #2

We'll be spending all of 2020 identifying goals, reviewing problems and challenges in reaching those goals, and exploring existing resources in community sourcing solutions to be successful. You can register for the free Unconference series, Save The World Sundays, here:

Volunteers are also needed, and you can reach out to to learn more about helping make the series a success.

Steven Sebastianelli  Quick Click Keyboard Update #1

Deleting the update messed up the link to this project so I am reposting this update:

In a quick survey I did in the Muscular Dystrophy community, over 70% of computer users use a mouse and on-screen keyboard, yet so much interaction is done through hover functionality and hotkeys. There are minimal tools and web accessibility practices out there to make computer usage fully accessible to mouse/touchpad/trackball users. These limitations become even more apparent with specialized software, such as CAD and video editing applications. Would anyone like to help me build something to accommodate this group, of which I am a part?

This app I'm trying to have built is a more advanced on-screen keyboard than the ones integrated into Windows and mobile operating systems. It would allow people who can't use physical keyboards [mouse, touchpad, or trackball only] to not feel limited by hotkeys and hover interactivity by making it possible to replicate these using only a pointing device.

If you would like to see my idea: Please check out the Explanation Animation I made [make sure it's 1080p if it looks too fuzzy]:

Fill out this survey on it:

And look at my open-to-add-to list [that the disability community has been contributing to] of all the challenges people face when using a computer without a physical keyboard:

Please share any thoughts, and join my slack project channel #quickclickkeyboard !

All the best!

Chris Kohl  PAWS Data Pipeline Update #1


paws_data_pipeline is off to a great start! Thanks to all those who came out Tuesday night. Great contributions across the board.


We had great representation from people who can make it happen. We are in need of one or a few program manager / project manager / project lead type persons who love to keep things organized! Karla and Chris will be involved every step along the way but lack the bandwidth to do week by week, task by task planning and tracking. CAN YOU HELP HERE??? IF SO… PLEASE JOIN THE SLACK CHANNEL AND MAKE YOURSELF KNOWN!


After the kickoff presentation and some Q&A, we broke into two groups. One group focused on ideating around data extraction and creation of the data lake. The other group looked ahead to data cleansing, matching, validating, and linking it back in to systems-of-record such as Salesforce. Key points from each discussion are below.

Data Lake - Identified our source systems, discussed extraction methods briefly, and considered data lake architecture and construction. Next steps are to dig into one or two data sources, figure out extraction methods (APIs are not widely available although .csv exports are), and inventory records, structure, and elements for movement into the data lake. Test out the process.

Cleansing/Matching etc - Discussed the options for matching data across sources and making sense of the data from multiple systems (eg estimating complexity of cleaning process required and potential data architecture challenges). Next steps are to 1) make a few data sources available (probably on the volunteers/donors integration stream) so the team can understand what variables exist and in what format, and 2) clarify data privacy issues for doing this work. Additionally, PAWS staff will assess whether there are additional data structures to be created (e.g. labels) as an alternative to the currently unstructured text notes.


We will plan a meet for (we think) next week, Tuesday. Or it might be on November 5. Details on the next scheduled hack night are coming. We will communicate it through the Slack channel #paws_data_pipeline.

Some people requested remote connection, perhaps doing remote connections each week and then in-person every other week or once a month. This is still TBD. Thank you for the suggestions.

Stay tuned to the Slack channel for more!


Chris & Karla

Nicholas Quigley  Snowcap.Me Update #2

Snow-Capped has it's first users, and as of last week they can login using Google. I figured Google does authentication and two-factor auth pretty well, so why reinvent the wheel? (Even if it's a pretty complicated wheel)

That A+ rating is just about impossible to maintain if your site uses any javascript.. so Snow-Capped is aiming for a B going forward, which is where Apple sets the bar, and is a better rating than Google, Microsoft, and even Vanguard.

I'm also happy to announce that I found a new partner in Kyle Rusak, who is a web dev expert.

Freeze your credit here:

Tara Taylor  Facilitating Thriving Update #1

This project is designed to help Philadelphia community members collectively quit capitalism and create cooperative ecosystems to live and thrive in with a model similar to startup incubators.

We are currently developing a platform of engagement (website, crowdfunding campaign, virtual and paper zines) to recruit contributors. Our developers site is available to anyone and you don't need any technical knowledge to contribute.

Spencer Snygg Update #24

We will be updating the site in two weeks. We will be adding: 1. the ability for organizations to endorse politicians 2. The ability for voters to match to organizations 3. a lot of small fixes.

We have started making outreaches to other election based organizations to try to work together to help each other out.

Nicholas Quigley  Snowcap.Me Update #1 is live and the registration form is built, but I would like to test just one happy-path user signup before officially opening up to people. So don't sign up just yet, but stay tuned!

All of the personal data that people will register with and transmit to the site is extremely sensitive, so the site was built with security in mind. I'm happy to share that after lots of research and configuration, gets an A+ on Mozilla's Observatory security testing suite, which is a better grade that most Fortune 500 companies. See for yourself here:

Matt Schaff  Resource Philly Map Update #2

Great news! Resource Philly Map (RPM) is pleased to announce its partnership with the Defender Association of Philadelphia. This new partnership empowers us to tailor our app around the needs of Philly Defenders' thousands of constituents.

RPM is designed to be the fastest way to connect people in need with social services in Philadelphia. We are actively developing our prototype, and we would love to involve more collaborators, including developers, project managers, designers, and business analysts. Please reach out on Slack under the channel #resource-philly-map.

Katherine Zuk  Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity - Criminal Record Expungement & Pardons Update #1

Hi everyone! Quick update about where we are in this project. I am envisioning it to have three projects nested within it: 1) collecting data and securely storing it; 2) building a new, internal generator that retrieves this collected data to generate expungement paperwork and screen for sealing and pardon eligibility; and 3) potentially linking this generator with our pardon app (in development), which assists people with filling out the pardon application.

At the moment, we are in early stages of the data collecting/scraping. To stay updated on how this progresses, join the Slack channel! I will be posting most of the updates there. Also, send me an email at so that I can send you a volunteer confidentiality form. Looking forward to updating you all soon!

Spencer Snygg Update #23

So we should be updating the live site in a week and then again in a month. We are going to cover the Lehigh Valley, and Philadelphia and then New York City. At this moment, we are writing the five minute quiz for votersa dn politicians to take. What questions do you think we should ask?

Matt Schaff  Resource Philly Map Update #1

Big news! This Resource Philly Map project, formerly named Resource Awareness Philly, is moving again, and fast. We have a new prototype, and we're looking for more collaborators. Please reach out on Slack under the channel #resource-philly-map.

Prototype: Philly Resource Map

Given the interest of local nonprofits in managing their information, this project was re-rolled into the new Drupal 8 content management system.


  • Update data: The data is pulled from the spreadsheet compiled by this project team in 2015, so it needs to be updated. Come to the data entry sprint @ the Hack Night on 4/16!

  • Add cool new features: For examples, we're considering adding a revamped UX, disaster-specific services (e.g. for hurricanes, govt. shutdowns), user notifications (e.g. "New services added in your area"), and voice commands with DialogFlow (e.g. "Where is there available shelter near me?")

  • Build partnerships: The Office of Homeless Services in Philadelphia has indicated interest in generating a user base for this app, and we are building partnerships with local nonprofits serving homeless citizens as well as the Free Library.

Billy Hanafee  PHLASK: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Water Update #6

Hello Code for Philly community! With the addition of several new team members over the past couple months, I wanted to share some project updates:

Current Project Flows

  1. Website PHLASK Map functionality – adding Legend filtering; adding tap filtering; embedding open/close times from Google to add accessibility information
  2. Website PHLASK Map UI/UX – How to display all of the tap data / pictures in the side bar; displaying filtering tools and interface
  3. Data management – updating PHLASK database; mapping PHLASK points
  4. Data crowdsourcing – students at WB Saul HS helping; develop crowdsourcing tool
  5. Water Quality – Engaging PWD to dismantle myths and misconceptions about tap water

Simmering Ideas

  1. Data – Aggregate information about water quality, plastic bottle consumption and taste preferences / water drinking habits
  2. Website Migration – containerize Wordpress site for Linode hosting
  3. PHLASK App – convert website map into downloadable PHLASK App
  4. Special Event Mapping – mapping water locations for special events (eg. Broad Street Run)


  1. “Okay Google, PHLASK for water” Google assistant command
  2. New public tap water infrastructure
  3. PHLASK branded reusable bottles

Update from school visit:

[On March 20th] I visited the students at Walter B Saul High School to talk about their participation in the PHLASK Project and sustainability thinking. We watched “The Story of Stuff” on YouTube, which describes the current wasteful life cycle of consumerism and the need to shift to a more sustainable system for producing, consuming and reusing products. (If you haven’t watched it, I’d highly recommend it!) We then contextualized this with thinking about the life cycle of single-use water bottles and the comparative life cycle impacts vs simply drinking water from the tap. I think the students were pretty engaged at points and showed genuine concern for the issues.

For next steps, the students are going to start creating marketing materials and strategies to reach out to businesses. We did an interesting class survey to measure the students’ own water drinking habits, which I’m also hoping they will extend to the wider school community so that we can get even more data. We also left it a bit open-ended so that they can potentially approach this project from other creative angles.

If anyone is interested in working with the students directly, please reach out and let me know! The class’ teacher, Greg Smith, is very receptive to new ideas and additional ways to give hands-on experience to the students.

Plenty of Water II

Last year around this time, we had a little happy hour celebration at Plenty Café when they became the first Private-Shared point on the map. Since we have a growing team, it might be fun to have another happy hour so we can all hang out and learn more about one another. It could also be an opportunity to welcome other individuals to contribute ideas / help with other project vectors. Just wanted to put that on the radar so we could consider doing it sometime in April (United By Blue as the 2nd private-shared location could be a cool opportunity)

As always, we welcome anyone to the project who would like to get involved and help out. If you see something that strikes your interest or have other ideas, please reach out and join the #PHLASK channel on Slack.

Spencer Snygg Update #22

We are currently trying to decide priorities for this year. Do we focus on local elections in a few larger cities or do we focus on 2020? Doing local elections requires a different set of tools than federal ones and different research/networking. we can get information on national candidates eaily, but there are over 10,000 local election boards, and we just don't have enough time to contact them all. So we can spend a lot of time trying to build tools and relationships with other organizations that can do the footwork for us, or we can pick a few cities, or we can focus on 2020.


Because a lot of people vote along party lines, is most useful for primaries - which unfortunately cuts down our lead time.

You can check out the our progress at our test site or you can see the live tools at

Billy Hanafee  PHLASK: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Water Update #5

Happy New Year, Code for Philly community. Here are some updates on the PHLASK Project:

Drinking Water Working Group Meeting At the end of December, I attended a meeting of the newly formed Drinking Water Working Group, which has been convened to address people’s reluctance for drinking tap water. I gave a presentation of our efforts over the past year and talked about ways the PHLASK Project could buttress the new coalition’s mission. There were nearly 20 attendees, representing both city departments (PWD, PDPH, Zero Waste & Litter Cabinet, Managing Director’s Office) and several non-profit organizations. There is ample opportunity for us to use our existing work to guide cooperation with various members and subcommittees of the Drinking Water Working Group.

Potential opportunities include:

  • Recruiting students for data collection and Map/App testing
  • Public Water Testing
  • PHLASK Map for citywide events (marathons, concerts, etc.)

PHLASK Map - Now on Node Work has begun on migrating the PHLASK Map from the main PHLASK WordPress website to it’s own standalone Node.js application. This change allows for us to incorporate better version control protocols and to make changes and improvements live more quickly. We are currently in the process of matching the page style of the Node.js application to the old WordPress application and once complete the Node.js version will go live.

PHLASK Website migration With the assistance of Code for Philly organizers we are containerizing both the PHLASK WordPress websites and new Node.js PHLASK map through docker. Once containerized we will also be using Code for Philly web hosting through Linode to deploy our applications and website.

PHLASK Map / App UX/UI Design Project Newcomer Anna has brought an exciting new skillset to the team with her knowledge of UX/UI design. She is helping lead efforts to critically examine how people will interact with the PHLASK Map / App and create intuitive features. She is planning a transparent method to engage stakeholders and interested parties in contributing to the process. The current plan can be found here: PHLASK UX Research Plan

As always, we welcome support, contributions and feedback from anyone who would like to get involved.

Abbott Shea  Youth Education Program Matcher Update #2

We are moving the project to maintaining! Great work by @alatshaw & @benjammin to define the product and get it into the hands of some pilot programs.

The product will continue to evolve from here. @alatshaw will be taking over main ownership of the project, and will still be working closely with @benjammin to get new features added through the new year. Anyone looking to work with and help a great product looking to impact an under supported part of the Philly community reach out to either of them!

Spencer Snygg Update #21


Right now, it works as a pretty decent voters guide.

  • There is a 5 minute questionnaire you can take to get matched up with your politicians (this is 21 questions for this election)
  • There is a Ballot Match questionnaire where you can answer every single question that politicians in your area answered (this is over 60 depending on your area)
  • You can take quizzes on just about every topic imaginable - Unlike the match questions, we wrote these to make you think while you are being polled . You learn about the issue from all sides of an argument so you can start thinking about middle ground while we match you up with organizations, politicians, and other users who can help you make a difference in your community.
  • You can see how organizations rated politicians. -You can see links to the organizations to learn more about them.
  • You can see the voting records of national incumbents
  • You can see who paid for the campaigns of National Incumbents. -You can see what committees the national incumbents have been on.
  • you can see the websites of the politicians -you can contact your elected officials year round. -you can contact the candidates.
  • you can see videos and essays from organizations so you can learn about the topics. -You can discuss the issues with other users in your city, your county, your state or across the nation. -You can see news feeds from national and international sources.

So what's the next step? Well, the goal of VoteWise is to get people to think about solving problems instead of treating elections as a football game to be won or lost. We realize that the competition aspects of elections is what gets people pumped and that's why we focused on the election tools first. But we'd like to start getting more into our actual goal of problem solving.

Tools we hope to build soon:

  • A way to track legislation and be notified when something you care about is coming up for a vote.
  • More integration of state and local info
  • Better integration of organizations into the mix (501 c3' and c4's)
  • Better integration of news feeds so users could see a variety of news feeds from their specific locality rather than a selection of 50 or so from a drop down) This feed would ultimately be a national source, a local source and a randomized source so that they get the information they want, but they are also constantly fed some other source to get them out of their bubble.
  • A tool separate from our regular discussion tool that is especially aimed at creating solutions to problems. Think of it as a hack event with no timeline and the goal is actually solving the problem rather than getting an award. (Someone proposes a problem or a solution to a problem. People discuss the solution in committee and fine tune it. It gets presented to larger community and suggestions are made. It goes back to committee, reworked and proposed again. This happens until a significant number of people think it is a workable solution and then we get interested organizations/politicians involved and track it's progress. Perhaps we create a tool that collects the skills of volunteers, so that when a coder, a doctor, a mechanic, or whatever is needed, we can find them. TO track progress after proposal we could include links to Git or back here for coding things, GoFundMe or similar for funding, or whatever. I would love to hear your ideas.

Oh and before I forget, here are some ads we made: (30 second get out the vote ad) (45 second funny get out the vote ad) (1 minute serious ad about how money affects politics) (2 minute ad amusing as about how VoteWise helps democracy work better)

Feel free to share.

Casey Vaughan (Staff) Leverage: Philly Campaign Finance Update #6

Spring /Summer 2018 Update

“Coming Together is a beginning, Keeping Together is progress, Working Together is success” -Henry Ford

  • Remi & Chris: API & Data pipeline
  • Konstantine: Error checking & Documentation
  • James: Docker setup, Front end & Pipeline
  • Casey: Project Coordinator

The Leverage team took the opportunity this Spring to review, revamp and confirm the accuracy of documentation on Github. In addition, a project board on Github was formally adopted in early summer to increase the productivity level of the team. To date we have successfully closed nearly 50 issues. “We know we are not setting any speed records as the project nears its 3rd year in the prototype stage so it’s certainly not the time to start cutting any corners.” Project scope increased from city focused to elections statewide as it became apparent that in-district and out-of-district donations are a key variable to track when researching voting options.

Azavea Credits!! Azavea generously provided the Leverage team with use of the companies Cicero API which enabled us to complete our coordinates for political districts in the city and statewide. You can read more about this contribution in an upcoming blog by Chris Williams on the Azavea web site. Casey connected with the product manager of Cicero at a Philly Tech week event held at the Philadelphia Free Library. Serendipitous networking like this goes to show what a vibrant and healthy Tech Ecosystem the City of Philadelphia has and its businesses support.

A focus group compilation was completed summarizing the three conversations held at various Free Library Branches around the city. The compilation also includes two information architecture activities for participants to get a feel for the breadth of information described within the Board of Ethics database. The first involved having participants look at the words currently used on the City Board of Ethics website and offer suggestions for alternative synonyms. The second activity was basic card sorting that provided participants to plan out how they would like to access the data. While the results of the study have not directly impacted the current design they provided momentum to the project and attracted developers at a time when interest and motivation was waning.

In late summer Chris Williams and Casey Vaughan attended a fundraiser for the 18th Ward (Kensington). The event was well attended by ward committee members, ward leaders and a state representative. The outing proved opportunity to speak with potential end users. One of the great things about getting involved in CfP projects is that it helps you to appreciate the variety of resources available for learning and engaging in the political process.

While no clear deadline has been set for Leverage the last 2 seasons of weekly Tuesday meetings have been productive. Put in the perspective that it takes one full year of weekly 2 hour meetings to put in 80 hours of work, Leverage has steadily moved towards completion. In the final weeks of the summer Chris Addey a Philadelphia based data scientist joined the group.

Kelsey Huse  Modus Update #1

We are working on implementing a real-time image recognition library into our React Native app. Currently testing out Tensorflow, which may not be ideal for working with Expo. Looking into other options and researching.

Beginning to learn about 3D graphics for the AR view using Three.js. Lynda has a course that is free via Philadelphia Free Library membership, so we are checking that out to start.

Need to work on our UI/UX of the app and solidify the gaming rules. Need a workflow for submitting quiz questions and additional historical sites.

Casey Vaughan (Staff) Leverage: Philly Campaign Finance Update #5

Fall 17/ Winter 18

Leverage started a new sprint in the Fall of 2017 with a core group of developers made up of James Lott, Remi Adewale and Chris Williams. The initial API built in the Fall of 2016 during the City as a Service Hackathon was scrapped along with the existing front end built in AngularJS. As James Lott recalls, “we overhauled the data model and Chris already had a working code base that just needed to be written around the Philly data.”

An MVP was proposed for a sprint for with three pages to be completed. The first page will display Per Race Information such as total raised and top contributors. The second page will display information about All Candidates running in any one Race. So for each candidate you would see total raised and party affiliation. The third is a Candidate Detail page which displays information about funds raised by individual candidates. For example information such as funds raised inside of and outside of Philadelphia as well as inside and outside of Pennsylvania. Additionally we plan for the third page to show top contributors as well as contributions by zip code.

Leverage met consistently through the Fall of 2017 before lightning up the workload during the the holidays. Joining the team at this time was Constantine Sergeev who met the Leverage team at an open house event. Eamon Caddigan also stepped back into the ring to provide some veteran insight.

While the original MVP timeline was not met the team carried the momentum through the winter and into 2018. It was decided in the early spring of 2018 to extend the timeline for the MVP indefinitely and focus more effort on organizing the work and tasks that trying to control the pace. The technology stack is composed of Vanilla Javascript (ES6) and Bootstrap 4 on the front end and the API is built with Python 3, Flask and Alchemy.

Jason Cox (Staff) Cypher Philly Update #1

We are still in planning phase. There is some prototype code that is working, but there's a need for project planning and documentation.

Most of the next "sprint" of tasks are in the Github project. I'll be updating documentation to make it easier to know the goals, architecture ideas, and setup.


I'll be at the next two Hack Nights! We will also be planning another weekend or evening session in the slack channel soon. Join us if you'd like!

Billy Hanafee  PHLASK: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Water Update #4

Hello Code for Philly community,

Mapping The PHLASK team has been actively working this spring to build the web map and mobile app features. We currently have about 40 verified PHLASK sites on the map, which include a mix of public, private-shared and private water taps. With the guidance of the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD), Phila. Dept. of Public Health (PDPH) and Department of Public Property, we're hoping to incorporate more public access taps at places like libraries and rec centers in the coming month.

Water Tasting Event: May 14, 2018 Our previously scheduled water tasting event at the CHF was cancelled, but we have scheduled a new water tasting event in partnership with Mural Arts' Trash Academy at the upcoming "Plastic China" screening and discussion at the Free Library (Facebook Event). We've found that there are lots of misconceptions about our municipal water system vs. bottled water, and in our efforts to encourage more sustainable water-drinking habits we want to foster a broader reflection on these issues.

We continue to welcome both technical and organizational help in scaling the PHLASK project. Even though the overt 'deliverable' is a map and app to help people find water refill locations, there is a lot of additional grassroots work that goes into building capacity for the project. The ultimate goal of the PHLASK project is to "reduce dependence on single-use plastic bottles," which requires a broader cooperative effort beyond just programming, so please reach out and get involved if you're interested in the mission.



Leonard Jones  Garden Hero Update #1

Lead up to Launchpad 2018

We are still in the early stages of planning and writing the application. If you'd like to help, please drop me a line at We plan to meet twice a week before the May 22nd Demo Day for Launchpad 2018.

Tuesday - Remotely (8PM - 9PM)

Sunday - Indy Hall (10AM - 11AM)

Spencer Snygg Update #20

We are doing a LaunchPad2018 project where we automate a nightly scrape of jSON legislation files from the Library of Congress and ingest it into our database so that we can inform users of upcoming legislation. Users would make a list of keywords, and they would receive posts on their home page as well as text and email alerts if they so chose. We would eventually want to build on this by having legislation become endorsable by organizations and have a user forum associated with each piece of legislation so people could discuss the pro's and con's. And of course, they can always use the other VoteWise tools to contact their politicians to express their views.

Of course, if someone has a better idea to achieve similar results, we are very open to that.

On Saturday, Braden visited the team and shared some of his wisdom about scraping but was unfamiliar with Mongo (our database) so he was unable to do any coding. Hopefully, he will take another stab at it or we will be able to find someone else to help us.

Liz Brown and Christine Martino also gave us very useful feedback about the rework of our new user interface.

Jon Ross  Designing a Voice User Interface for "Smart Cities" Update #2

An announcement from Amazon: "City on a Cloud Innovation Challenge 2018" AWS helps businesses, nonprofit organizations, local and regional governments, schools, and districts innovate by simplifying IT workloads that they struggle with and depend on every day, such as Geographical Information Systems (GIS), Content Management Systems (CMS), Open Data portals, teaching and learning solutions, and more. All of these applications run on AWS and make it easier for governments and schools to deliver services to their customers, citizens, and students.

Through our City on a Cloud Innovation Challenge, we recognize local and regional governments as well as private and public schools and districts as hubs of innovation in four categories: Best Practices, Partners in Innovation, Dream Big, and We Power Tech. Winners will receive AWS Promotional Credit to start or continue their projects.


Spencer Snygg Update #19

After a presentation at philly barcamp, it became apparent that one of our big hurdles was the look of the site and user interface. So we are reworking it to be more professional, more appealing, and more user friendly. On top of that, we are adding functionality to see the voting records of federal politicians and who funds their campaigns. You can see our work in progress at and you can see the current live site at

Rich McMillen (Administrator) RESOLVE Philly & BROKE in Philly- Logo Design Requests (Q1 2018 Request) Update #1

Do you have graphic design skills to volunteer? Help design new logos for two new Solutions Journalism projects!

Logo design for RESOLVE Philly We are looking for a logo that centers on the word resolve and philly is a minor part. People are also interested in having the “solve” part pop out in some way the tagline will be "Solutions journalism serving the Philadelphia region" Logo design for BROKE in Philly BROKE in Philadelphia” is the name of our economic justice reporting project for this year. The tagline will probably be something like: Our economic reality—and where we go from here

To contribute…

Email Projects Lead, Rich McMillen ( and RESOLVE Philly contact, Jean Friedman-Rudovsky (

Billy Hanafee  PHLASK: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Water Update #3

The PHLASK Project continues to evolve as new collaborators get involved and contribute to the water sharing initiative.


Taylor Johnson has taken the lead on our GIS mapping and database. His work has been an asset to the project. We are currently in the process of upgrading the mapping features to be more dynamic and integrated to our database of water-sharing locations.

Both the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) and Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) enthusiastically support the initiative. They are working to help us cull data from different City departments that can be compiled into the PHLASK water-sharing network.

Water Tasting / Testing Event:

We will be having an event at the Chemical Heritage Foundation to do a water tasting/testing event to try and dispel misconceptions about the public water system with data. Mural Arts' group Trash Academy will contribute programming around the waste generated by single-use plastic bottles.

Next Steps

We are looking to build capacity in the following areas:

  1. UX/UI development - improve how the data is displayed on the map
  2. PHP/Wordpress wizardry - integrate the map into the website and automate some of our databasing processes
  3. General marketing - add new sites to the PHLASK network of water-sharing sites and spread the word about water-sharing.

Taylor and I will be attending the Meetup tonight, January 30, to talk more about the project and solicit interest from the Code For Philly community.

All the best, Billy

P.S. Please feel free to join the #PHLASK channel on Slack to join the discussion and follow the project!

Kriston Jae Bethel  (Un)Incarcerated - A Multimedia Documentary Project on Incarceration and Reentry Update #1

I wanted to provide a bit of background on myself and the inspiration behind (Un)Incarcerated. I work as an independent editorial and documentary photographer, covering stories in Philadelphia and the surrounding area. I also teach journalism at Temple University, where I graduated with a degree in journalism and political science. Last year, I spent time helping behind the scenes on some reporting with The Reentry Project, a collaborative between various Philly newsrooms to cover stories on prisoners returning to their communities and the people who are helping them do it.

Back in November, I attended The Reentry Blueprint: Stories and Solutions from the Formerly Incarcerated, a night of short, TED Talk-style conversations that highlighted problems and presented solutions to issues of reentry. Near the start of the evening's event, anyone who had ever been to prison was invited to stand up and be acknowledged. Given the nature of the event, I knew the formerly incarcerated were obviously among the crowd, mixed in with community. But even after spending months covering these issues myself, I was still surprised by the number and diversity of people that stood, fracturing my expectations for age, gender and ethnicity.

Bringing that moment to others is at the heart of (Un)Incarcerated. To develop a project that recreates and expands on that experience. To break down the wall that is built up around the 1-in-6 people in Philadelphia that have been incarcerated, despite having served their time. To both challenge how we see the formerly incarcerated and to better educate ourselves on their experience.

Faye Anderson  All That Philly Jazz Update #4

In 2017, All That Philly Jazz was named one of the top 50 jazz blogs and websites.

To learn more about what we've been up to, check out "ICYMI: All That Philly Jazz in the News."

Maria Caruso (Administrator) laddr (powers Update #21

Proposed Site Content Map

Home (designed)

  • Call to action/find a project/register
  • Success Stories – snippet p
  • News/results

Get involved

  • Projects 101 (includes stories link – designed)
  • Find a project
  • Find an event
  • Share your ideas


  • Link to slack (feed?)
  • Register/Member directory
  • Forum (but needs clearer messaging)

About CfP

  • Who we are (includes leadership team/link to national chapter)
  • What we do (general info/stories page)
  • Contact us (includes PR packet, contact triage)


Other Pages

Profile page (publicly vieawable)

  • Karma
  • Visit the about us page (newbie)
  • Uploading a profile photo
  • Complete Skills/status
  • Introduce yourself (post in the intro channel in slack or forum)
  • Visit/read the projects 101 page
  • Follow a project/search projects
  • Post in a project/join a project
  • Contribute to a project
  • Lead a project (Leader)

Personal feed for starred projects (privately viewable)

Robert Hudson  MentorPhilly Update #4

Hey everyone. MentorPhilly is back at it again. Thanks, Corey, for re-engaging me. We have established a website using the WordPress platform. Currently, we are creating the language for our ABOUT page and registration page and establishing our look; any insight or support with that would be greatly appreciated. One of our focus right now is creating a campaign across multiple social media outlets, promoting MentorPhilly and recruiting Mentors. We also are creating our logo, any design support would be helpful. The slack that will be attached to our web page similar to Code for Philly's site has texting capabilities we would like to create a simpler way to respond back from slack like a one-button command to respond vs a string of commands (hope that makes sense). Is anyone familiar with InVision or Adobe XD we like to build on our conceptual design?

Rich McMillen (Administrator) laddr (powers Update #20

Hello Code for Philly!

The Code for Philly website swat team is looking for a few more volunteers. If any of these match your skill set - and bringing to life the next generation of this website sounds interesting, contact our Product Owner, Maria Caruso (slack: a_priori_rainbows)!


  • Writer / Story Teller - To help with A) Crafting blog posts based upon interviewing our community members to showcase the great work and/or B) Help clarify and improve our existing website content
  • Visual designer - someone to help work with our front-end developers to design our new website theme. Preferably someone who has experience also working with HTML/CSS/Bootstrap themes.

Maria Caruso (Administrator) laddr (powers Update #19

Laddr redesign project meeting notes – October 5th, 2017

Meeting attendees: Chris Alfano (CfP CTO), Rich McMillen (Projects Lead), Maria Caruso (Product Owner)

Overall goals of CfP website

  1. Connect people with projects (not just developers!)
  2. Create an open-source tool for brigade(s)
  3. Give teams the tools to ship projects
  4. Marketing to drive funding for projects
  5. Promote social engagement
  6. Advertise relevant community events

Redesign will be broken up into two phases

Phase 1 – approx. completion date of Jan 1st

  1. Focus on rebranding/language
  2. UX research
  3. Basic site map redesign (condensing nav, making access to existing projects/sign-up easier)

Phase 2

Desired Site Features

  1. Permissions system: would allow people to PM, restrict access to certain projects, etc. Possibly based on a “reputation” credits system, wherein people receive higher permissions by completing, managing, or contributing to projects
  2. Team messaging system: Find ways to make project team communication easier
    1. Possibly nix slack, or restrict channel creation to approved projects
    2. Move existing project communication to Github, reserving slack for initial project development coordination or community related discussions (gig-swap, random, events postings, etc.)
  3. Open projects repository: a searchable database of previously incomplete projects, where people can apply to manage a project and submit it for official approval
  4. A flow for projects approval: may include things like, documentation on what a good project looks like, an interactive checklist, etc.
  5. Project task tracker: Github will be used for this, but we should choose a GUI.
  6. Project application page: includes info on what a good project is
  7. Existing/in-progress/complete project repository
    1. Includes open-roles
    2. Users who are on the project, or not, can subscribe to updates
    3. Links to Github, displays open tasks that need completion
    4. Press related to projects
    5. Completed project page includes maintenance tasks/press updates

Potential Road Map for Phase 2 Completion

  1. Create application process for projects: permissions system may be required for this
    1. Eventually create role requirements integration with profile system (e.g. “This project needs 2 front-end devs, a designer, a UX specialist…”)
    2. Interactive checklist
  2. Clean house: determine which projects are “cold” and notify leaders of viable projects of new flow/application requirements. This may require recruiting people to vete projects.
  3. Create new profile system
    1. Tags for skills where users can specify their strength in skills. Possibly cap number of skills users can post
    2. Create targeted marketing based on skills
    3. Allow users to search for jobs within their skill set and apply for positions within projects
  4. Create Github GUI/project tracker for in-progress projects (example of a friendly editor UI for editing markdown content within a github repo:
  5. Create various searchable repositories (cold/in-progress/complete)
  6. Develop targeted marketing campaigns for open projects, sponsors, etc.

Luke McKinstry  FortifyingFamilies Update #1

Following our work designing the site this past weekend at PowerUp Reentry, we deployed a prototype (python/js/bootstrap) today to help advance the ongoing design and feedback process. Our goal is to create a resource for families/friends/advocates/supporters of incarcerated persons to get information tailored to their needs to assist their returning citizen in the reentry process.

Casey Vaughan (Staff) Leverage: Philly Campaign Finance Update #4

Leverage: Project Update: Spring/Summer 17

The spring and Summer of 2017 brought Leverage both cause for celebration and cause for concern. The list of reasons to celebrate included an in depth interview with a supervisor at the city of Philadelphia Board of Ethics, a presentation of iteration 3 proposed features in front of a panel of judges and conference calls with representatives from MapLight and OpenOakland. In addition the research team carried out its 2nd & 3rd Focus Groups at various public libraries in the city. Still at end of summer it was as if all these gains could be eclipsed by a lack of progress and consensus on the frontend. Here is a closer look at these events and a shout of appreciation out to those who helped along the way.

At the CELaunchpad Demo night held in early spring Chris Williams and Casey Vaughan presented the project and received feedback from several professional developers. While not all the feedback was what we wanted to hear it definitely helped us to evaluate our project objectively. No one want’s to hear that your project is “a little lacking in direction” but its better then finding out the hard way when no one shows up to team meetings. Feedback like, “I think your idea of a focus group is great. It will really help further your project.” helped us solidify our plans for running focus groups throughout the summer months.

Throughout the spring and summer of 2017 Eamon Caddigan and Casey Vaughan held a series of focus groups at various libraries in the city with interested citizens. The conversations provided us with several insights into how citizens relate to campaign finance information, insights we hope can be used to inform the design of the Leverage user experience. Thanks to the staff at the Philadelphia Free library (Independence, Fishtown and Blackwell branches) for allowing us to utilize their meeting rooms for focus groups this summer.

Our Open Disclosure Oakland conversation was a dream come true and is thanks to the planning of People team lead Pat Woods. In mid summer Leverage had a whole hour to discuss topics with key members of their team. Questions ranged from teambuilding tips and onboarding to code architecture. John Rhoades from Commonwealth Commonsense joined the call and provided key insights about existing campaign finance disclosure in the state of Pennsylvania. We plan to keep this line of communication going in the future as it provided us with valuable insights and answers. Thanks to the Open Disclosure Oakland team for an informative conference call that helped us appreciate what it takes to complete a campaign finance application!

Our conversation with Map Light helped us realize just how fortunate we were to live in a city with rigorous campaign finance regulations and data. Map Lights program director Hamsini Sridharan filled us in about the work Map Light is doing around the country to build a campaign finance product (Illinois, New York and California) for voters and journalists. Going forward we have been offered the opportunity to speak with Skippy Williams, Product Manager at Map Light. We are looking forward to continuing this conversation. Thanks to Hamsini Sridharan for sharing insights into the landscape of campaign finance around the nation.

Code for Philly continues to provide the Leverage team a backbone of support services. CfP has helped Leverage find new members as well as places to hold meetings. Launchpads and hackathons have been springboards that allowed the project to build momentum. We are grateful for all the hard work the CfP leadership does to provide passionate civic technologists the opportunity to build cool projects.

Spencer Snygg Update #17

Do you have widgets that work? On, we are making a space where people can make use of the local widgets based on where they live. So, if you have any widgets that work with no bugs that we can embed, we'd love to see them. API's are a bit tougher for us to install, but if they are awesome and maybe you could help us install them, then fantastic. We would be particularly interested in APIs that enhance our database rather than living alongside it.

So what are we looking for?

The goal of is to connect voters, politicians, and organizations without advertising dollars getting in the way so that they can work together towards solving all the problems we face. We are looking for widgets that improve the lives of people without a financial benefit. So a widget that tracks crime, yes. A widget that reviews restaurants, no.

Local widgets can be categorized by any combination of the following topics: Civil Liberties, Crime and Punishment, Education, Energy, Environment, Gun Control, Health & Safety, Immigration, Infrastructure, International Relations, jobs/economy, quality of life, reproduction, social services, and taxes. So, if for example, you have created a widget where people can find the safest bike route around South Philly, we would list it in infrastructure, quality of life, and health and safety for the area of Philadelphia, PA and users could easily access it.

And of course, if you see anything that we can improve in any part of the site, let us know.

Billy Hanafee  PHLASK: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Water Update #2

Hey everyone, I took a bit of a hiatus from the project while I was away the past 2 weeks, but I'm back and in full water-sharing mode!


We're currently figuring out how to setup a collaborative database that can be used to store, sort and lookup water sharing locations. Once the database is setup, we'll work on automating a process that can map all the locations


I will be participating in PhillyCAM's People Power Hour to talk about PHLASK and environmental justice issues on Wednesday, Aug 16. The discussion will be broadcast on 106.5 FM and on Facebook. Info here:

PhillyCAM People Power Hour

We're also working on building capacity for marketing and chartering the PHLASK Co-op, which will be tasked with cooperatively maintaining the PHLASK network.

Please join the #PHLASK channel on slack to join the conversation!

Sincerely, Billy

Billy Hanafee  PHLASK: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Water Update #1

Today was the first time for visiting the Code for Philly community. Thank you to Chris for helping to curate the process and show me some of the ins-and-outs of working with the community and the technical interfaces.

The PHLASK project is still in its nascent stages from a technical perspective, but we've been very active engaging community participation. This past week, we partook in a Climate Change Discussion Group to talk about how the PHLASK Initiative can be a tangible solution to helping reduce waste, and is an important step towards Environmental Justice

Read this post for more info: PHLASKING for Environmental Justice

We've also met with people from Philadelphia Assembled, Blue Marble Solutions, and are in conversations with the Philadelphia Water Department and Jefferson University.

Looking forward to continuing the progress at the next Code for Philly Meetup.

Sincerely, Billy

Matthew Palilonis  FIRECLOUD: Connecting Firehouses Together Update #1

Hi Code for Philly,

I am a 15 year volunteer firefighter working on becoming an emergency medicine physician. I have a passion to help my brothers and sisters in the volunteer fire service in any way that I can. PROBLEM: Many fire department (non-major cities) have limited resources and budget to build an appropriate technology infrastructure to operate efficiently, manage finances, track truck maintenance, track members activities, recruit new members and share resources with surrounding departments both training and mutual aid pre-plans in event of a multi-alarm fire. GOAL: Develop a online, cloud storage, mobile platform for these departments to do their day-to-day business, share resources with other departments and spread training opportunities online. Please consider helping to develop a online platform for local fire departments so they can recruit, train and provide to their communities. Lets connect firehouses together! Thank you for your time and consideration.

FF Matthew DO MHSA

Kyle McGrogan  My Philly Update #2

Site is live

My Philly is now live online, with most of its basic features working. You can enter your address, and get a list of Registered Community Organizations that cover your area. You can click into these to get a bunch of information about them. We also have a map which shows RCO overlap, and a bunch of different content sections to read.

Up next is officially sending out the information gathering survey to various RCO leaders, where they can give us their mission statement, social media accounts, and any committees they may have. These responses should be cropping up as they're given to us - so keep your eyes peeled!

Casey Vaughan (Staff) Leverage: Philly Campaign Finance Update #3

Leverage: Project Update: Fall 16/ Winter 17

Leverage kept warm and busy through the Fall of 2016 and Winter of 2017. With the added momentum of an award for “best Civic Tech Project” at #CaasH and the tangible progress of an API built by James Lott and other stalwarts of the technology team, the group had much to be proud of. Starting in November the team doubled down on their user centered design goals with several highly productive and well attended Hack Nights gathered round the hearth at “Local Host”.

Jacqueline Siotto lead a dive into the results of the roughly 100 surveys she gathered. The presentation summarized major findings as well as highlighted key takeaways. The team also dedicated a night to looking at campaign finance applications currently in use in New Mexico and Oakland. Chris Medykiewicz took note, gathered feedback and built out a wireframe that includes basic features and pages that the team agreed will be needed.

The strategy team carried out its first focus group with the help of the friendly staff at the Philadelphia Free Library Independence Branch and the generous citizens who participated. The focus group is part of a larger research plan the group is carrying out to better understand its stakeholders and users.

As all projects go through cycles of leadership, Leverage has been fortunate to have had new volunteers step up when others had to step back. While the core group has remained unchanged previous team lead titles: Data Analysis; Visualization ;Technology; Strategy; Project Manager; Project Coordinator have fallen to the side and a new formal structure has emerged.

The new structure is a Technology team coordinator, People team coordinator and overall Project Lead. Positions will be held for six month cycles culminating at either the spring or fall hackathon. The Project Lead will be responsible for quarterly reports summarizing the monthly feedback from the coordinators. The Technology team will encompass data, pipeline and UX while the People team will include research, strategy and recruitment.

We are especially grateful for the help of Chris A. Williams, Matthew Tomlinson and Montana Goodman in recent weeks. Chris teamed up with others focusing on data and pipeline efforts at #CELaunchpad providing valuable insights from his efforts building a campaign finance application for the state of Delaware ( Matt helped the strategy team to refine its focus group exercises and Montana provided valuable insights as a co-participant in the #CELaunchpad project design workshop.

Jess Mason (Staff) Megalithic Timeline OpenSource Project Update #2

Were Hosting a 2nd meetup This sunday @ Indy Hall Coworking space.

Meetup Link: Sunday Morning{Open-Source­­} Community Project - Megalithic Timeline (Part-1)

The Idea:

Megalithic Timeline is an open-source project I want to build in order to convey a better history of Human made megalithic structures and an anthropology of humans throughout history. I've been fascinated with uncovering the anthropology of the people who built these unbelievable monuments which have withstood the test of time and forces of nature to give us a glimpse back in time.

Build Goal:

My goal with this project is to help bring together people who are interested in discovering Science & History through coding together. If we are successful at building this dynamic app, we'll help reach broader audiences to further convey the ideas outlined above.

Part 1 of the sunday morning coding session will be to discuss the different parts of the app to be built and collaborated on. Thereafter we will break off into groups and begin architecting and designing the Back-end & Front-end parts of the app. After allotted time we'll group back together and Review.

This app will be developed using:

Front-End: ~Angular 2 ~HTML ~CSS ~Javascript

Back-End: ~Neo4j virtual graph database & companion Cypher graph query language. ~Node.js ~MongoDB NoSQL

Hosting: ~Heroku



~Pocket API

~Wolfram Alpha API

~Google API

Trello Board: Trello Board

Event: There will be food and drinks provided by our sponsors for the event.

~Pizza ~Beer ~Snacks & More


We will be meeting in the Art Gallery of Indy Hall’s Co-working Space on the 3rd floor of the Colonial Penn building which is on the corner of Market st. and 4th.

Front Doors Lock after 12:00 PM < Call or text > (267) 393-0910 and someone will be down to let you in. TuneIn online: We're setting up a Zoom­ Conference call in case you want to attend but can't make it here physically. I'll be posting a Link here when we start casting the meetup so you can join in from the Technium.

Michiko Quinones  YadaGuru - College Application Reminders Update #28

So much going on - it sort of feels like we are in the final inning here, bases loaded and we've concentrating on the game so much we forgot to post an update. Here's what's been going on..

  1. Brian Wyant joined the team has made a great impact already, cleaning up some UI and most importantly, masking phone numbers in the DB. Great to have you you on board!

  2. Bob gave an awesome workshop on how we manage Yadaguru using GitHub Issues and a board on February workshop night

  3. We got our marketing site up and it feels pretty snazzy… check out

  4. We are in final testing. Text messages reminders are coming in as scheduled, onboarding is looking amazing.

Next steps are to close out the bugs and issues that we've found , migrate to CFP AWS, migrate to our for real twillio site (the one where we have that Rally grant waiting to be used) and set up a launch party - yeaaahhhhh!!!

Any AWS experts out there - we need you! ping us on the YadaGuru Slack channel

Jess Mason (Staff) Megalithic Timeline OpenSource Project Update #1

First Meetup Next Wednesday Jan 18th, 6-8PM

Meetup: Meetup Page


We will be meeting @ 399 Market St - Suite 360 Philadelphia PA , in the Art Gallery of Indy Hall’s Co-working Space on the 3rd floor of the Colonial Penn building which is on the corner of Market st. and 4th.

Front Doors Lock @ 7:00PM< Call or text > (267) 393-0910 and someone will be down to let you in.

Event: There will be food and drinks provided by our sponsors for the event. ~Pizza ~Beer ~Snacks & More

Michiko Quinones  YadaGuru - College Application Reminders Update #27

We dockerized and it's literally minutes to install the whole dev stack and get up and running. Check out these awesome instructions

So easy even I (ProductOwnerScrumMasterNonCoder) could do it.

Bob has put a tremendous amount of work into this, complete with literally hundreds of API tests that run on single 'npm test' command. So awesome. We are doing the most right now:

A) finishing up the app, B) configuring twilio to get text up and running, C) then moving to CFP AWS instance.
D) Convincing twilio to give us a 501c3 discount

You are welcome to help with any of it. The front end stuff can all be found here on our waffle board. We will be at 12/20 CFP to talk through the 'Agreed We Need to work on It' column.

So if you want to learn or if you are advanced coder who wants to contribut to get us to the finish line, have we got a deal for you!

On the marketing front, we had a good season with Version 1, topped off by that awesome visit to Southwest Leadership Development Academy. Their tweet:

"Thank you to all who attended our college information session tonight with @yadaguru & @CodeForPhilly #alumni #roadtocollege #collegeweek

— Southwest Leadership (@SLACSinfo) October 4, 2016"

To date we've helped about 100 kids with applications. The focus now is to finish V2 and then start a new marketing campaign to prep for Juniors classes in May who will be seniors in the fall.

Brad Steinberg  Near Green Update #3

We met up this evening at the hack night to talk about the next steps for NearGreen. Also we met and welcomed Charmel to the team!

Quick shoutout to Nke for developing an SMS service to text the user a list of healthy corner stores, near the zip code they supply!

Next up for NearGreen, for a target of Mid-February:

Make web application mobile friendly and responsive Charmel and Logan have both expressed interest in this initiative and we're excited to have them on board, to take on the front-end efforts Secure file hosting to house our web application and register a domain name Integrate SMS service into NearGreen Get the word out about NearGreen to find our targeted demographic and have these users test our app and provide feedback

Great work Greenies!

Corey Acri (Administrator) Bike Route Tracker (CyclePhilly) Update #52

These datasets contain CyclePhilly trips from May, 2014 through April, 2016 (2 years; 12,202 individual trips by 300 unique CyclePhilly users) that were mappable to DVRPC's Open Street Map facility network. CyclePhilly trip data was processed and snapped to the nearest road or trail segment using an algorithm so that total volumes by segment could be calculated and compared (some facilities—particularly trails—may not be in the mapped network; CyclePhilly data for these segments is not shown). Note the data sets include only CyclePhilly trips; CyclePhilly users' trip patterns may not reflect those of all cyclists. Trip ends (origin/destination) have been 'fuzzed' to protect users' privacy, so true start and stop locations are obscured in these datasets. Please refer to the descriptions below for information on the datasets; a data dictionary is also included within each ZIP file.

Marissa Goldberg  Near Green Update #2

Thank you so much to everyone who has taken us this far in the project! I couldn't have done it without you. This was truly a team effort.

We have our MVP on github and can't wait to keep going. The support we've received has been so encouraging.

Thanks to the audience at CAASH we won the "Jawn award" for crowd favorite! Check out the writeup of the event here -

We also want to say welcome to Logan Crossan fullstack dev who will be joining our team. We are so excited to have you on board!

As you know, this demo was just the beginning.

Phase 2 will be getting hosting to move the whole project live.

Other steps towards making NearGreen everything we dreamed include

  • Make some UI improvements to the map page
  • Add the ability to expand the radius of your search
  • An option to get Walking, Cycling, Transit, and driving directions to and from your current - - location right within the web app
  • Features where you can email this list to yourself or text a result to your phone from your - computer (great for people who don’t have smart phones)
  • More information within the location marker window
  • Improve user experience and accessibility through user testing
  • Add more store data from the city of Philadelphia (2016 update)

Anyone who is interested in joining in on the effort please feel free to join this project on, and join the conversation at

Michiko Quinones  YadaGuru - College Application Reminders Update #26

Our marketing efforts have started to bear fruit. We gave a workshop at Southwest Leadership Academy for parents and kids. Looking at our stats since launch we've helped about 80 kids with the college application process. That's our returning user base, we have a few hundred new users who tend to spend a longer time on the app, so we assume that they are coming here once, getting the info they need either though PDF download or a push to google calendar or .ics file. Bob has made incredible progress on the app, all the routes are now built, along with some beautiful unit tests every step of the way, and we are now at the point where we can start to layer in the twilio api. We're looking at December to have a working prototype. Zach has joined us and is helping out and Brent from Twilio will help guide as as well. Right now we need people familiar with Javascript, node, AWS to help with the api. Would also be great to find some front end folks familiar with CSS, SCSS, HTML5 to help on the frontend

Casey Vaughan (Staff) Leverage: Philly Campaign Finance Update #2

Leverage: Project Update: Summer 2016

The summer of 2016 was a busy summer for both the city of Philadelphia and members of Leverage. While the city hosted the Democratic National Convention, Leverage participated at the American Experiments Showcase Challenge. In addition we met for hacknights, held a UX feature workshop and distributed a user surveys to hundreds of citizens. New members James Lott, Chris Medykiewicz and Remi Adewale joined the group adding technical skills and experience to the technology and visualization teams.

The American Experiments Showcase Challenge provided Josh Werner, Jacqueline Siotto and Casey Vaughan a chance to answer attendee questions and demo a prototype of Leverage. "We were honored to be included in the showcase which included applications in use from around the country such as Democracy Works and Ballot Ready". In speaking with conference attendees we had many takeaways. First, we learned that some people are interested in seeing campaign expenditure data as well as donations received. Second, we learned that users desire the ability to drill down on the data and that infographics should be clickable into a subset of data if possible. Third, many attendees expressed a strong concern that we avoid assumptions about the public domain knowledge about campaign finance. In other words we need to meet the community where it is.

In the Fall of 2016 Leverage will be busy. The team will regroup as an evergreen project at CaaSH. We will utilize the extended face time to reach a consensus on a core feature set that will be built out in as an MVP (Leverage 1.0 application) for #CaaSH demo night being held Oct 25th. In addition the Leverage team will be meeting at a Hacknight later in the Fall to view a presentation by strategy lead, Jacquiline Siotto that summarizes information gleaned from our citizen summary.

Spencer Snygg Update #15

It's alive. It's ALIVE! IT'S ALIVE!!!!! Check it out at There are still a few bugs to knock out, but I'll be populating it with politicians and advertising it in about a week and a half.

If you want to help build more tools for it to make it even more awesome, drop me a line. There are tons of cool features yet to come.

Michiko Quinones  YadaGuru - College Application Reminders Update #25

Hi we are currently building the mobile app. We now have a new backend in Javascript using standard MVC architecture. Much easier to teach and we are welcoming a few new folks Rowana and Zack to help us. Bob is leveraging TDD - building in unit tests right from the beginning - which is great to both a) determine if the environment is set up correctly and b) determine if the code is good. We're getting to the point where we can begin testing twilio and we are happy to note that they have a test api for that (thanks Twilio), so we don't have to use our grant for testing. Michiko is out marketing, hold workshops for parents, meeting with schools, developing promotional materials. The marketing goal is to make people aware of Yadaguru as a niche tool and then leverage that to get them up and running with the mobile app when we move forward with that.

Matt Zumwalt  Dat Jawn Update #9

Recruiting New Cohort for Mentorship Project

We're recruiting a new set of participants for the Dat Jawn Mentorship Project. Enrollment is open until 9/27. Tell your friends!

This project has three main purposes:

  1. Create open source software
  2. Provide mentorship in computer science and software development
  3. Give people experience creating software on teams

What We're Creating

We will be creating software that deals with distributed version control for datasets, which is a pretty advanced topic. We’ve framed the work so that it’s connecting with two established open-source projects: noms and ipfs. Those projects do most of the heavy lifting so we can focus on learning about the concepts involved.


  • Enrollment (8/30–9/27): meet us, set up your dev environment, start learning Go-lang
  • Workshops (10/4–11/22, just before Thanksgiving)
  • Transitioning to development (11/29–12/6)
  • Development sprints (12/13 through mid-February)

Who Can Join the Cohort

  • You must provide your own laptop.
  • You must be comfortable writing code in some programming language (Javascript, PHP, Python, Ruby, Java, C++, etc). We will not be covering basics of software programming.
  • You must commit to attending at least the 8 weeks of workshops.
  • You must be prepared to work hard at collaborating with a team and dealing with complex computer science topics

Why You Should Join

Get experience with…

  • Working on teams: using Agile processes, writing tests, documenting code, using version control
  • Looking underneath the hood of version control systems
  • Creating and sharing data in distributed systems
  • Applying user-centered design practices
  • Coding in the Go programming language

How to Get Involved

Michiko Quinones  YadaGuru - College Application Reminders Update #24

We are humming along. Writing controllers on a daily basis. Feeling good. We are much cleaner now for install and setting up the environment and for getting right in and helping out. I (Michiko) also realized that our web app is incredibly useful. I'm helping a friend's daughter apply to Princeton, she's the first in her family to go to college. And it felt great to go to Yadaguru and just download that PDF of dates and it's GOOD and helpful and works! I guess because we weren't quite there with the mobile app I downplayed how useful the web app. Code for Philly can be proud that we have this awesome tool in production for Philly kids with an awesome mobile app on the way. So tell kids you know about Yadaguru so they can get the help they need for school.

Michiko Quinones  YadaGuru - College Application Reminders Update #23

And…..we're back.

So you may have been wondering…where are the Yadaguru folks? Well, I for one, went and had a massive wedding in Pennsauken, followed by a fabulous honeymoon in sunny Florida. We all kind of took a bit of a mental hiatus from the project. With civic all volunteer projects people can reach a fatigue point and we didn't want that to happen. So we all took that break. And now, we're refreshed and ready to dive in again. I'm going to focus on building out architecture diagrams and updating the readme on github with the goal of making setup a one hour thing (right now its like 4 hours with some help needed). Aidan is pushing some code soon. And Bob and I will be at the July 12 hack night to sync up again and hopefully meet devs who want to help out on this awesome project. See you all then!


Casey Vaughan (Staff) Leverage: Philly Campaign Finance Update #1

Leverage: Project Update: Spring 2016

The Leverage team energized by an excellent Hackathon prototype built over two days in late March 2016 has continued in its effort throughout the spring months. Two in person group meetings were held in the weeks following DemHack 2016 to finalize team leads in the following areas:

Subject Expert: Meghan O’Conner Data Analysis: Led by Eamon Caddigan Visualization: Led by Patrick Woods Technology: Led by Adebayo Adejare Strategy: Led by Jacqueline Siotto Project Manager: Josh Werner Project Coordinator: Casey Vaughan Consultants: Bob Lannon & Kam Lasater

The Data Analysis is experimenting with different ways of distilling the finance data released by the city into easily digestible information for Philadelphia voters. This includes additional analysis of the unsupervised clustering approach used in our DemHack 2016 presentation; we hope to discover hidden structure in the pattern of donations that will allow us to make comparisons between the candidates. We are also experimenting with supervised approaches that could allow us to apply meaningful labels to the types of donors who support each candidate.

After some research and debate, the visualization team has decided on using NVD3 ( as its means to display dynamic data. Moving forward, we will work with the Data Analysis Team to determine which visualizations will be needed. We want to focus on displaying the campaign finance data in a way that is clear and understandable for both experienced user of this information, and novice voters who are interested in understanding how money has been spread in their local elections. We will then work with the Technology Team to connect the site to the data, and display the visualizations on the front end of the site/app.

The technology team tasked with infrastructure for the application ensures the seamless integration's of the various web systems and provides maintenance and security for the server. The technology team deploys Django API with a Nginx+Gunicorn setup as the server infrastructure complete with reverse proxy, load balancing, firewall and any other necessary components to the availability and security of the web application and site. Lastly, the technology team investigates the integration of dockerized containers for easier deployment and maintenance.

The Leverage project's main objective is to make Philadelphia campaign finance data more accessible and useful to voters. The strategy team is conducting market research to better understand how city-level campaign finance data is currently being used around the US, and how and to whom it might be most useful in Philadelphia. We are following up our general research with an online survey and in-person focus groups, which will help us identify and define our core target users as well as inform how we design and build our website/app and visualizations. We will continue to solicit feedback throughout the development process to ensure we best meet the needs of our users. The strategy team will work closely with our subject-matter expert to gain insight into the national and city-level campaign finance landscape, the data analysis team to determine what information is most relevant to our target users, and the visualizations team to help inform our final product.

We are especially grateful and excited to have caught the attention of Tina Zh, Marc-Andy Noel Jeune and Ian Campbell in recent weeks. Tina and Marc-Andy are joining the visualization team and Ian is looking to provide support to both the technology and visualization teams. Also we would like to publicly thank Chris Alfano and the entire Code For Philly team who constantly fan the embers that keep projects like this alive.

Moving forward the group has settled into an impressive cadence as members juggle professional and personal obligations. A monthly group-wide teleconference will be held during the summer months to keep the cadence steady. Teams and smaller groups will continue to work independently via Slack, hack nights and google hangouts. We will post an update at the end of the summer to keep others apprised of our progress!

Rich McMillen (Administrator) Philly Bike Coalition Survey App Update #7

Recently have been adding a bunch of minor usability improvements for the survey counting experience. Also have updated various countdown timer logic and added a header when the user is in a "portrait" device orientation that recommends he/she rotate their phone in order to complete the survey count. I'm feeling pretty good about being ready to share the latest experience with the Bike Coalition.

Short-term help needs includes testers (would like to see the web app experience rendered on as many different devices as possible) and of course any mobile web developers interested in improving the UI look & feel.

John Pankowicz  Govmeeting Update #1

A large part of what is said at a City Council meeting is "ceremony" – a spiritual invocation, approval of minutes, taking of the role, recognitions of service, reading of proclamations, etc.

During this past week, text processing routines were written to categorize and label the parts of the meeting. The most important information we want to highlight is: (1) new legislation that is proposed and (2) discussion about new legislation.

Instead of data on existing laws, this project is most concerned with proposals that are not yet law and which citizens can then still influence.

Some text processing has been made simpler because Philadelphia Council members tend to use the same terms over and over. For example, when proposing legislation, one will usually say something like:

“I offer one privileged resolution …” “I introduce one bill on your behalf …” etc. Also, once something is proposed, it is then customary for the Chief Clerk to read a synopsis of the proposal. Categorizing public comments will be a bit more difficult.

Often lacking from the City Council meeting, in a city the size of Philly, is debate between the council persons themselves. Most of the proposed laws are immediately “referred to committee”. However, the public can comment on any proposed laws and the officials can respond.

Mjumbe Poe  Councilmatic Update #3

All the work that was done this weekend at the Democracy Hackathon distributed across several repos.


  • (upstream)

    • This is the core of the new iteration of councilmatic. It is the basis on which and are built. It uses the OpenCivicData format to pull in information.

    • This is a version of the OCD API that's set up and ready to be deployed. It has the Philadelphia City Council District shape data included.
  • (upstream)

    • This is the Django app that serves as the OCD API server.
  • (branch phl-councilmatic-3)

    • This is a fork of the councilmatic-starter-template project. So far, only cosmetic aspects have been configured — setting up the names of things in Philadelphia, adding a liberty bell, etc.
  • (upstream)

    • This is intended to be the starting point for a new councilmatic instance. We made a few changes that we should submit as pull requests upstream. When configuring the philly-councilmatic project, if there's something that all new instances would benefit from, a change should be made in this starter project and pulled into Philly.

Documentation & Resources:

  • (one of the many endpoints in the server)

Kathryn Killebrew  Philly Vote Check Update #2

Added option to look up polling location by address (instead of finding by looking up registration.) Also added lambda configuration for combining calls to find ward and division for address, and then looking up polling location by ward and division.

Matt Zumwalt  Dat Jawn Update #8

Activities for Week 4 (03/06 - 03/12)

If there's one Jawn meeting you don't want to miss this quarter, it's probably this week's meeting.

This week we will start implementing real features. Plus we have a special meeting lined up at the code{4}lib conference on Wednesday where we will get to interact with software developers from around North America.

Wednesday Meeting: Claiming Assignments and Hacking with Code4Lib attendees

Matt has arranged for us to meet at the code{4}lib conference on Wednesday evening and has invited some of his favorite coders to participate in our first Agile Scrum, where you will pick up assignments from the list of assignments on github. There will be plenty of fun coders around all evening to pair program, answer questions, or just hang out.

Time: Wednesday 6pm-9pm.
Location: Sheraton Society Hill

Note: we might stop hacking and go socialize around 8pm. Depends on whether we're on a roll.

Tuesday Presentation: Matt's Talk at code{4}lib

Matt will be on a panel at code{4}lib 2016 where he will talk about Jawn.

Time: Tuesday 1:00pm-2:30pm.
Location: The entire conference will be live-streamed on the code{4}lib YouTube channel. If you miss the live stream, the video should be up there soon after the conference.

Matt Zumwalt  Dat Jawn Update #7

Activities for Week 3 (02/28 - 03/05)

We have a lot going on this week!

  • Group Assignment: Import Rows from a CSV File and Convert to JSON
  • Call: Use Cases for Dat Jawn Tuesday 3pm. Google Hangout
  • Working Session Wednesday 6pm-9pm at Devnuts
  • Call with Mathias Buus from Dat Project Thursday 6pm. Google Hangout

Group Assignment

Everyone should try writing the code to satisfy this github issue, or at least think through how you would write the code and test it. If you have time, take a stab at it before Wednesday so we can consider the different approaches we come up with. This will give us an opportunity to look at API design, IO streams, and unit testing.

For more info, see

Tuesday Call: Use Cases for Dat Jawn

Time: Tuesday 3pm. Location: Google Hangout

Matt has organized a call to gather use cases for Jawn. The goal is to get real-world stories about how people will be using this software. The call is mid-day, so most of you won't be able to join. That's fine! You can watch the recording, and there will be more calls like this in the future.

This will be a public Hangout On Air, meaning anyone can watch the conversation live and ask questions in the Dat irc channel The call will be recorded and available on YouTube afterwards.

Wednesday Working Session

Time: Wednesday 6pm-9pm. Location: Devnuts 908 North 3rd Street, Philadelphia, PA

This is our weekly in-person working session.

This week we'll be at Devnuts, which is the place where most Code for Philly meetups have been happening for the past few months.

Thursday Call with Mathias Buus from Dat Project

Time: Thursday 6pm-9pm. Location:Google Hangout

Discussion: Tracking Tabular Data in Hypercore

Discussion between the Dat Jawn team in Philadelphia and Mathias Buus from the Dat Project ( This is a chance for the jawn team to clarify our understanding of Hypercore and how things like Row Additions, Updates and Deletes will appear in hypercore's Merkle DAG.

This will be a public Hangout On Air, meaning anyone can watch the conversation live and ask questions in the Dat irc channel

Rachel Cox  Check Yr Reps Update #1

Hello! I am a designer— I only know HTML and CSS. But I have an idea for a website that would engage people in local politics.

Let me start from the beginning. I am a Bernie Sanders supporter. Having never been politically active, I now am at the age of 35. I'm trying to learn and keep up-to-date with local politics since "politics start at the local level" and stuff. I can't find any active local political blogs for Philly. Nary a one! So I started thinking… how can we get people excited and engaged in local politics? How can we hold our elected representatives accountable? How do we know what they're doing with OUR MONEY?

I would like to make a website that identifies the user's representatives based on their zip code and/or nearest intersection (using this: and show them a feed full of news involving their reps. Since the Google News API has been deprecated, this could be difficult.

The resulting feed should look like facebook or pinterest… you can sort by date, or federal/state/county, or click on one rep's name and see a feed full of their news- their mentions on twitter, article, items of legislation they have signed or voted on. The point is to make this very user friendly and accessible. Additional features like message boards or public posts might work. The beta version could be just for Pennsylvania to keep it simple.

Thanks for reading.

Rich McMillen (Administrator) Philly Bike Coalition Survey App Update #6

Here's a summary of activity that last two weeks:

  • Began using a Slack Channel for team collaboration (less email, hoorary!). You can find it here
  • Rich onboarded two new teammembers, Alex and Yoav.
  • Rich and Joe met for "app deployment 101". New "Deployment" Google document has been posted to team Google drive repository.
  • Joe deployed latest code (from Rich in Feb 2016) to our QA environment. Here's a link to the QA web portal —- where a user could signup for an account / register for survey appointments:

Matt Zumwalt  Dat Jawn Update #6

Our second meeting will be on Thursday instead of Tuesday.

We will meet on Thursday 25 February 6:30pm - 9:30pm at the The Hub CityView (not to be confused with Commerce Square or Cira Centre). We're being hosted by New York Code + Design Academy, Philadelphia Campus.

Time: Thursday 25 March 6:30pm - 9:30pm
Location: Hub CityView, 30 South 17th St, United Plaza, 14th floor

When you go into the Hub, look for Michael, he can take you to the room.

If you're free on Tuesday, consider going to the Code for Philly Open House Night at National Mechanics.

FYI: There's also a job fair hosted by Philly all day Tuesday More info:

As always, you can reach us in the Slack channel.

Matt Zumwalt  Dat Jawn Update #5

Our first meeting went very well. We had eight people - a great start! The most important info from the meeting:

  • The project is now called "Jawn" or "Dat Jawn"
  • We're using Slack to communicate (see "Contact Us" on the page above)
  • We're still looking for more people to join our cohort - especially women and people of color!
  • There's info in the Issues and the Wiki on the github repository

For more info about what happened, read Matt's blog post

Robert Hudson  MentorPhilly Update #3

Recent dialogue has led to some great effort spear headed by @cricca. We are now in the process of creating a 1st point of contact fro mentees with potential mentors through sms. We are using Twillo services to further this portion of the project. ( The next step is to create some internet visibility with a web page and traditional social media outlets. @theraval has been very diligent and instrumental in the internet presence portion of the project. We will be providing Mentors with a single web page bio that will be linked to out website. I would be remiss if I did not mention that @ccziriak has offered invaluable support and advice.

Robert Hudson  MentorPhilly Update #2

Recent dialogue has led to some great effort spear headed by @cricca. We are now in the process of creating a 1st point of contact fro mentees with potential mentors through sms. We are using Twillo services to further this portion of the project. ( The next step is to create some internet visibility with a web page and traditional social media outlets. @theraval has been very diligent and instrumental in the internet presence portion of the project. We will be providing Mentors with a single web page bio that will be linked to out website. I would be remiss if I did not mention that @ccziriak has offered invaluable support and advice.

Matt Zumwalt  Dat Jawn Update #4

We will have our first meeting at the next Code for Philly meetup on Tuesday February 16th. If you're interested in getting involved of if you have questions, please come!

For details about the meetup, go to the meetup page.

Robert Hudson  MentorPhilly Update #1

We have been really having some great dialogue about this MentorPhilly idea. I feel like we have gotten a pretty good amount of attention here at Code for Philly now we just need to be really intentional about our next steps. We have receive a few commencements from members here which we appreciate greatly. For those who have made a commitment to help with this project can you please join our slack chat room @mentorphilly so that we can map out the next steps and for anyone else who would like to be apart of this project please join as well. Thanks

Spencer Snygg Update #14

We have a lot of cool stuff up already at If you go there, you can see a video of how the question section will work, and you can explore some of the look of the site. Unfortunately, our back end and front end are not yet connected, but we hope to connect the question section within the next couple weeks.

For a debate portion of the site, we really need some specialized tools. I would greatly appreciate if people could check this out and tell me if you have seen anything like it so I even know if it's possible.

Thanks for an awesome year, everyone!!!!

Next year, we repair democracy!!!!

Brad Steinberg  Resource Awareness for Philly Update #3

Cleaned up data and added "RAP - Data" worksheet to our Google Docs workbook

Presentation and application are being prepared for our demo/presentation at the Code for Philly hack night, December 29th at 7, at Devnuts.

Please come support the project and join our team if you are interested in assisting those in need, connect to the resources they are seeking.

Stan Pokras  CrowdHelping Website Update #1

Community Magic is working to develop a CrowdHelping website as a free public service similar to existing social media. It is intended to enable both professional helpers and community resource people to identify and connect with each other to better serve their clients. It will allow each user to bring a large network of helpful people into play. The tools provided by the system will enable users to organize, maintain and share consensually obtained information about the people in their extended network of personal/professional helpers and helpees. Users will be able to help people more effectively by making appropriate referrals to other helpers, community resources, and supportive services. The Community Magic CrowdHelping system will maintain privacy and provide anonymity while giving helpers the option to share helpee information when authorized.

Stan Pokras  Community Magic Update #4

Community Magic is the parent project for As mentioned in the previous update, we've received great help from Code for Philly.

But, right now, Wikidelphia needs to be updated and we need help with that. I've tried to read the instructions for updating Mediawiki, but… I can't even read the instructions. So, we need someone who is conversant in PHP and the server where Wikidelphia is hosted…. If you might be interested in helping, please write or call me 267-968-0407 (phone or text).

Michiko Quinones  YadaGuru - College Application Reminders Update #20

The team met last night at DevNuts. Discussion centered around who our real user is. It kind of started with the art major toggle. We thought that it would be a lot of work for a smaller subset of students. And probably, students who are art majors are more energized and motivated to understand the nuaces of portfolio submittal. That led to a sort of aha moment for us that we aren't really looking to support kids who already have a lot of support and/or are super on top of what they have to do. What we really want are kids who don't have support for the college application process and/or are having a hard time figuring it out even when they try. What this means is that the kids are applying to 10 schools (two of them Ivys) are probably not the kids who need yadaguru; assumed they already have some support or they are super motivated and will figure it out. We are looking for the kids who might be the first kid in the family to go to college, or in a big school system where it's hard to reach them to give them the information they need, but who sincerely want to go to college. That means that from an application perspective, we're going to have to remove some of the extras; like a toggle for art majors. We also want to talk to rolling admissions, which is sometimes a less grueling and demanding application options. To date, we haven't talked about it. We have added in our disclaimer that we handle regular decision and not early admissions or decisions. But we figured out last night that we need to also say something like 'hey if you are doing rolling admissions, pick the earliest date you can submit and we'll gear your reminders in that direction.' We also talked about cost. We are thinking it will be about .80 to $1.00 per student to use Twililo. We will obviously need some funding. But this can also be something we can ask schools to do - raise funds or contribute for their students. This might mean we might have to enter a sponsor code if someone has already paid for that student's texts. We also talked about login, and decided that we will use the mobile number and a password. We will authenticate though the phone with an initial text with a temporary password. Finally - realized that we need to use the universally recognized gear icon for settings and not the power icon. All of these issues will be written up in github if folks want to contribute.

Michiko Quinones  YadaGuru - College Application Reminders Update #19

So..we're doing it! Met tonight and got support support support from Code for Philly. Lloyd is helping us migrate off of our personal AWS account and onto code for philly. We're building text message interface using twilio, we decided after talking to Ben, and talked through doing that. Derrick came out and will start helping with development and Bill gave us good mobile app design pointers. We're racing to build this in time for kids who are applying to school this year, so (prayers answered) we'll make it. If you want to help check out the developer link and anything that's labled 'priority' and 'help wanted' is stuff we could use help with.

Michiko Quinones  YadaGuru - College Application Reminders Update #18

To quote Ice Cube "Today was a Good Day".

Two big events today: Usability/Pilot with high school seniors at City School and meeting with the School District of Philadelphia's Office of Strategic Partnerships.

Big thanks to the kids at City School who gave us awesome feedback and were a joy to be around.

We learned a ton by watching kids actually use the app. Here are the key learnings: 1. Pushing to Google Calendar - probably a bit of a learning curve for most high schoolers.
2. Pushing to iCal - works on some phones, not on others and is importing html characters. 3. Directions - its confusing after you click 'get my reminders' - there are a lot of buttons and it's not clear which one to push. 4. The Information is good - kids did get into the information and we heard a lot of 'oh yeah, I better do my essays'.

We debriefed and came up with some general direction on where to go next.

  1. Push to SMS as the first option instead of google calendar.
  2. Rename ical (most folks don't know what ical is).
  3. Give the information up front first before the buttons on the second page but also make the buttons clearer about what they do (ah the challenges of mobile development).

The team decided that we are going to think of some solutions and regroup with our top three on Flowdock later today, and also figure out a time when we can all meet together.

We also want to bring in more hackers and will be making pitches at a near future Code for Philly

School District

The School District is investing in helping kids with college accessiblity and is doing a big Naviance push this semester.

Our key take away from the meeting were that we:

  1. Should get SMS reminders to work - to work around the google calendar issues.
  2. We need to know if we can handle the load should the school district promote YadaGuru to schools. This is a big district, 200K students.

In all, we are so very psyched to get the feedback. The team feels that as an MVP, we have reached our definition of done. We're going to prioritze our next set of work, bring in a few more hackers to helps us, figure out how/if we adjust for load in AWS and reach back out to the school district.

James Tyack  Unlock Philly Update #15

Unlockphilly user feedback

I just wanted to share a really nice email I received about Unlockphilly (names removed) from someone who visited Philadelphia with her niece. She found out about this site at an online forum 'GenPhilly Network'.

> "Your site was so amazingly helpful for my niece and her family! It was really easy to use and great that everything was in map form. It was so nice that [name] got to pick from the options rather than picking a place to go and then checking it out and deciding against it for accessibility reasons. She is 14, and it was a great trip for her!! I haven’t heard how their experience was in NYC yet, but I know her dad was hoping there was something similar there. Anyway, thank you for such a great tool – it was highly recommended by several folks on the list, as well!!"

Spencer Snygg Update #13

This week, we found a lead that may end up in getting us voter and politician districts, which we can integrate into our site so that voters can type in their address and get linked to politicians in their voting area, which is SWEEET!

We also got a new user to help us change our Discourse to fit our needs.

Good stuff.

Spencer Snygg Update #12

We still need connections to Google's Civic API or other Open Civic Data stuff, but we are doing and end run around that and going straight with data from the board of elections - I think. We are getting sooooooo close to our alpha launch. A lot of great work done so far. A lot of great work yet to be done. Come be a part of the fun.

Spencer Snygg Update #11

A lot of cool stuff. We are well on the way to making an alpha launch of the question section in Philadelphia and allentown, PA on October 1st. We could really make use of anyone who can help integrate Google's Civic API or who knows anything about Open Civid Data ID's. We can also use help on the next stages of development - the learn about section and the user forum.

We just applied for a grant which would be awesome if we won.

To help with explaining the question part of the website to potential donors, we made a video:

Michiko Quinones  YadaGuru - College Application Reminders Update #17

Another awesome night at code for Philly. The Big news — Yadaguru has received a grant from Code For Philly to help us with the launch!
This is maadddd exciting.

We’re going to get t-shirts and some kind of promotion materials for parents and kids to spread the word about yadaguru. We’re planning to do our launch sometime in October at a city school. Thanks CFP!

As always it is the fantastic melding of minds that feels so good at CFP. Tonight I met with K who engaged me in challenging conversation that helped me to get ultimate clarity around our what Yadaguru does, succinctly, and how we are really different from what’s out there. I was encouraged by the Votewise crew who are able to describe Votewise in one sentence. So K helped me think about that too. I met M who is a medical editor and will help edit our FAQs and reminders for grammatical correctness and flow. And I met C who made me realize that we need a persona-out our key user. I met K who is a high school student and will give us feedback on the app and that’s exciting.
So, an incredibly insightful night with brilliant people!

Rich McMillen (Administrator) Philly Bike Coalition Survey App Update #5

August 2015 - Development and testing continues on. Rich and Roy have been adding features to the web portal that survey admins can use for reporting.

Current Needs: - Anyone interested in helping with our HTML5 + Cordova mobile apps. We're on the last stretch of tweaks and bug fixes as we want to start our next beta testing round. - Anyone interested in helping with our Django/Python + bootstrap enabled web portal - used for survey management and reporting.

…. note - Any experience levels welcome. Rich (who's typing this) has been learning Python over the past two months for the first time.

If you want to get in touch, email Rich at any time! (rmcmillen50 AT gmail DOT come). If you want to poke around more, check out our github repository linked above.



Mike Bok  Septa Next Bus Update #13

Been working on in general debugging and performance issues. Finalized training against traffic data. For this I used google's directions api along the route and then trained against what google thought the duration time would be. Will take a couple of weeks to collect a minimal amount of data to train against for the main server though.

At the moment I have given up on neural networks. They seemed to not perform as well and were hard to tweak. If anyone else wants to try different algorithms please let me know and I can give them a csv file of some data.

Next I will probably work on performance graphing of the training process. The end goal is to have graphs etc on the site so anyone can easily scroll through all the routes etc and see how well things were able to train / predict etc.

Michiko Quinones  YadaGuru - College Application Reminders Update #16

The team has been working incredbily hard on the prototype. Our architecture is maturing; dev and production branches, CI, automated deploys by our newest member of the team Yadabot (who also provides PUG spam and mean squirriils as needed). Katelin has been updating the reminders on the front end, organizing the data meaningfully into reminders, testing how the dates look and working and re-working the language to make it stick with highschoolers. Michael has got the front end looking like a legit app and we've got our Made with Love by Code for Philly logo on the front page. Tonight we we're fortnuate to have Michiko's friend Anthony come out and talk to us about any changes needed for AWS to adjust for scaling. There are about 3 million applications to school in the United States each year. But we're focused on Philly and so we're not expecting that many hits ;). We decided on a definition of done, posted that in Flowdock and then used Rally to priortize our exisiting feature requests and defects to meet that defintion. We're looking towards an of an end of September date to complete, and we'll do an architectural review then. Then we'll work with some local schools to introduce the app to them. We talked a little bit about that scary moment when we'll go watch kids use the app. That will be a true moment of truth. We'll do that first, probably at the end of September, make changes based on what we see, and then get ready for launch!

Brad Steinberg  Kiqstnd Update #3

Hi Philly Hackers! Kiqstnd won 2nd place at the Apps for Philly Transit Hackathon in 2013, but since then we've proverbially kicked the kickstand on it.

I've decided that I would indeed like to revive Kiqstnd and I'm looking for some help in doing so. Everyone is welcome. The only thing required is a passion for making Philly better with great civic apps!

Please feel free to contact me if you are interested.

Cheers, Brad Steinberg

Spencer Snygg Update #10

This weeks we had some ups and downs, but ended up awesome. We are really undermanned in our back end and we lost someone to a previous commitment. So we really need people who know PHP. If you know Laravel (a PHP framework) that would be particularly awesome. On the up side, we have met a couple people at Code For Philly who can help out in various ways. Gabrielle, an artist is helping redesign a particularly troublesome front end display. (Really thick in data and kind of scary looking.) Nathan and Henry are back end developers who are going to try to learn PHP in time to help.

Also, Microsoft swung by and they are going to give us free web hosting.. which is AMAZING.

Mike Bok  Septa Next Bus Update #12

Updated the demo app so it is more of an end user app geared towards the phone. This is the first app that can get the predictions for any bus on any route. Will probably work on getting the second demo more user friendly next. If you have any suggestions or bugs please post them on the forum.

Anyone know how to get links to be links?

Dave Torok  Minimal Blue Bikes Philly Update #1

I have released my Android App "Minimal Blue Bikes Philly" v1.0 to the Play Store and have added the project to Code for Philly. It's a lightweight Indego station status app with no map and no GPS. And it works on older Android (2.3+). Please give it a try and I'm looking for feedback.

Michiko Quinones  YadaGuru - College Application Reminders Update #15

Ah the life flow hit members of Yadaguru tonight some of us are getting married, some of us are moving, some of us are doing both! So we were scarce at Code for Philly. BUT we have turned a major corner in that we are moving into Testing!!! This is huge! It means that the prototype is essentially built. Katelin, our Guidance Counselor, is going to configure the app to prep for the upcoming school year. There's a lot of wordsmithing and messaging of reminders to do. Bob and Aidan have built a admin backend that allows Katelin to add and delete reminders, to set them up with approximate timeframes in which they should be given (ie 120 days prior to application submission), to group them into categories (eg: essays), and to add all of the SAT and ACT test dates for the year. It's really quite amazing what this team of volunteers has built in the course of a few months. And also - now the site looks like -for realz - AMAZING, thanks to new addition front end developer Michael. Katelin is going to now update the app with the data she knows. She'll also probably encounter some bugs that we'll try to work out before the school year. We'll push out to Yadaguru and will be looking for some help in auto scaling in AWS. Probably in the next few weeks well also need some testing help , so we can see how the app performs on mobile devices. We need to do a few others things, like add the reminder buttons (eg: push to google, push to ical). It's a great time on team Yadaguru!

Spencer Snygg Update #9

Part of our site will be a user forum and we need advice from those of you with experience. We need suggestions on which platform to use or if things have to be built from scratch or what. The more plug-n-play, the better. And if we can't do something that does everything we want, then we should go with something that would allow us to upgrade to what we want later on without losing all the posts and upsetting our users.

We won't have money to pay people to moderate, so it will be mostly user run. The point of the forum on our site would be to allow voter and politicians to debate issues amongst themselves locally, in their county, their state or across the nation. We want three traffic lanes for this: "Official Debate", "Possible Solutions" and "Free Debate". The "Official Debate" section would be a place where politicians could debate each other. More on that later. In the "Possible Solutions" lane, there would be drachonian rules on what you could and couldn't post. It would be mostly well thought out suggestions and tweaks. In "Free Debate", there would be just a lot of tossing around of ideas and a lot of the same old stuff you see in user forums.

We want to show the users debates in chronological order so posts make sense, but also have the ability to easily search popular posts or filter by whatever search criteria the user wants.

Users should be able to flag for: -Spam -Abusive language -Useful information/Good ideas -Entertaining

Users should be able to search by those criteria plus keywords, and users.

We should have some way where spam gets removed without us having to pay moderators.

There should be a way to automatically filter out/flag curse words and to remove duplicated posts (as possible spam).

Threads should be able to be linked to our Questions.

So, back to the the "Official Debate" section… we would want three windows - the main window would be where we see the Politicians talking to each other. In another window, we would see the Press asking questions. If a politician clicks to answer a question, then it becomes a part of the main window. Voters can up and down vote questions in the Press window. The third window would be for people to leave comments about the debate. It would also be awesome if the Politicians could set up a "Town Hall" function where for that debate only, the Voters were treated as press and could ask questions. There should be a "next" function, so users could go to the next comment/question/answer without having to scroll because one tactic that people will probably use is to leave numerous super long answers to make it almost impossible to find the other person's answers (and some people just tend to ramble).

Sooooo….. all that said…. Any ideas?

Mike Bok  Septa Next Bus Update #11

Reworked the project site so it is now looks like a real project. Includes links to the demo pages and also has a forum if people want to discuss feature ideas or how to use etc -

Finished training all the routes on the public server (which took 5 days straight). Also finished the preprocessing / caching of predictions so the front end calls are now a lot faster. Found that the main server is slightly slow so I just upgraded mysql from 5.1 to 5.5 and from xen to kvm so hopefully that speeds it up some. Might need to upgrade to a slightly faster VPS machine but will avoid unless necessary as that costs extra.

Will now probably start on a basic web mobile app meant for actual use instead of just demoing.

Michiko Quinones  YadaGuru - College Application Reminders Update #14

Great night at Code for Philly. We added three members to the team including a FRONT END DEVELOPER (YAY!!). So that's HTML and CSS people and we're happy! We're creating an advisory of people who've worked with kids and in the school system withh three awesome women Julie, Lauren and Katelin. Protoytype next version was pushed out tonight -and we'll push again when we meet at 7/22. Our next set of work will be to finish up the admin section, and the admin login page, add styling to the front page and start populating with real data. Then, we'll bring in the push buttons - push to google cal, to ical, to facebook etc.

Spencer Snygg Update #7

Our database is up, but not integrated with our front end yet…. but SOON.

Requests for advice: 1- Does anyone have any favorite user-forum plug-ins we can drop into our site? We want voters and politicians to be able to talk to each other locally, county wide, state wide, or across the nation.

2- We started our back-end using Phalcon as a PHP framework, because it compiles to C++, so it runs super fast. Unfortunately, we are having problems finding people who know Phalcon, so it's hard for volunteers to jump in and contribute on back-end stuff. We would love to hear people's opinions on back-end frameworks that are best for groups of various skills and time commitment abilities.

3- We are looking at integrating the Google Civic Information API. Anyone have experience with API integration? The API is at

email me at

Michiko Quinones  YadaGuru - College Application Reminders Update #13

Reaffirmed the need for this app at Code for Philly tonight. Connected with Lauren Bauman from PhillyGoes2College who has 20 hotspots throughout the city to help kids with the college applciation process. Yadaguru could be an easy tool that that counselors can use while they are explaing the process to kids. Also got to do a lighting talk on how the Yadaguru team is using ChatOps with Rally and Flowdock to stay light on process and big on getting things done. Learn more those 20 hotspots here

Yadaguru needs AngularJS developers and HTML front end folks to help with developing our look and feel. Contact us if you want to help!

Mike Bok  Septa Next Bus Update #10

Uploaded "nearby to" api. This lets you select a from and to location and it will return the next buses that will take you to the destinations and predictions on when it will get to all the stops. At the moment the call is very slow so that is the next thing that will be worked on.

demo app -

Abdus-Salaam Muwwakkil  Actualize.Me Update #3

After great success at the Milken GSE UPENN Competition — we will be looking to vamp up the test runs for the ActualizeMe Initiatives (Actual Project Based Learning! With Real People!).

On the radar: - Effective strategizing (Cnverg Sessions) - Landing Page (Bootstrap?)

Mike Bok  Septa Next Bus Update #8

Predict and next_bus api are now working. Predict gives you the amount of seconds predicted for a bus to reach a certain stop. Next bus gives you all the next buses to reach a stop for each route and the predicted amount of time for them to get there. Just made it so predict and next_bus run within 1 second total, down from ~10 seconds per bus. Next will change the trainer to use number-of-stops-away instead of nearest-stop which should make training a lot faster and more accurate.

These api are available however currently only routes 9, 21, and 42 are trained against stop 6060 (15th and chestnut)

Also there is this demo app -

Spoke with Lloyd and Andrew about working on the website and a "nearby buses to" api.

Chris Alfano (Administrator) LocalWiki Update #2

We're using the LocalWiki Foundation's central hosting service now instead of maintaining our own wiki, this should keep things running way smoother and provide even more long term stability:

We need to reach out to local groups that could take advantage of this to share their local knowledge:

  • Historical societies
  • Neighborhood associations
  • Conservation groups

Michiko Quinones  YadaGuru - College Application Reminders Update #12

Um. WOW! We got feedback from our awesome subject matter expert, Guidance Counselor extraordinaire, Katelin. Lots of great feedback about application submission dates, sat registration dates, and how to display them at the right time and in the right order. We prioritized the admin page to allow Katelin to be able to add and update reminders and see how it shows up for the student. MEAN Developers can help with this admin page right away. Also we are looking for people who can skin this app in HTML and CSS.

Michiko Quinones  YadaGuru - College Application Reminders Update #11

Aiden and Bob have got the first prototype up and running on AWS! Katelin will start testing this week. Lots of stuff to work on here. Hackers, we are building on a MEAN stack. Our plan is to build an admin module and refine the prototpye. Infrastructure peeps can help us configure for scale on AWS. HTML/CSS is needed for front end design. And Testers! We'll be at Devnuts on Tuesday or contact anyone on the team if you want to help out.

Faye Anderson  All That Philly Jazz Update #3

If you haven't already, please visit us at

The next phase of the project is to develop a mobile app, All That Philly Jazz Walk, a self-guided walking tour that would start at 11th and Market streets, the former location of the Earle Theater, and end at Broad and Carpenter streets, the former location of Union Local 274, the black musicians union whose members included Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane and Nina Simone. I would like to launch a prototype during DesignPhiladelphia (October 2015).

If you're jazzed about jazz, cultural heritage preservation or mobile apps, please join the project team!

Michiko Quinones  YadaGuru - College Application Reminders Update #7

We are super excited to report that a new Subject Matter Expert has joined the team. Katelin teaches 11th and 12th graders and will be able to let us know if our dates and messages are correct. She'll also be able to share the MVP with testers (high school juniors) who can help us figure out if we're hitting the mark.

James Tyack  Unlock Philly Update #13

We'll be at "Complete Parks: A discussion on ensuring our public spaces are accessible to people of all ages and abilities"

"As part of LOVE Your Park Week, please join us for a lively forum to discuss how accessible parks and innovative programming can directly contribute to the health and well-being for citizens of all ages and abilities."

Find out more and register for the event

Corey Acri (Administrator) Bike Route Tracker (CyclePhilly) Update #49

CyclePhilly Datasets

These datasets reflect CyclePhilly trips that were mappable to DVRPC's Open Street Map facility network from May through October, 2014 (6 months; 8,340 individual trips by 220 unique CyclePhilly users). CyclePhilly trip data was processed and snapped to the nearest road or trail segment using a special algorithm so that total volumes by segment could be calculated and compared (some facilities—particularly park trails—may not be in the mapped network; CyclePhilly data for these segments is not shown). Note that the CyclePhilly trips do not reflect all bicycling in the city and region; CyclePhilly users' trip patterns may not reflect those of all cyclists. Trip ends (origin/destination) have been 'fuzzed' to protect users' privacy, so true start and stop locations are obscured in these datasets. A data dictionary and ReadMe are included within each ZIP file.

Bill Clinton  One Stop Transparency Shop Update #1

One Stop Transparency Shop was an idea submitted for the Apps for Philly Democracy hackathon, March 27th-29th, 2015. The goal was to provide a searchable site linking campaign donations and lobbying data to resulting city contracts.

There is a more complete description with links and various scripts at the github page:

Spencer Snygg Update #6

We just had some major progress at the Lehigh Valley Hackathon. We took over a thousand questions and translated them from word into xl and txt, ready to be inserted into sql. We also took a bunch of mock-up pages and got them to the point of almost functionality. With a bit more work, the databases will be filled and those pages will be functional.

Spencer Snygg Update #5

We are trying to make a strong push to get something launchable finished in the next week or so. We want to do a test run of the very basic functions for the municipal primaries in Allentown in May, then expand to the municipal elections state wide for November and then go nationwide fully functional for the spring primaries.

You can take a look at some of the latest mock-ups at

We are hoping that we can get a lot done this coming weekend at the hackathon. If anyone wants to contribute remotely or in person, this weekend, or at any time, it would be greatly appreciated.

Faye Anderson  All That Philly Jazz Update #2

Share stories, preserve history with All That Philly Jazz app <>

All That Philly Jazz documents region’s rich jazz legacy from bebop to hip-hop <>

Briana Morgan  Philly Open Health Update #6

Picked up some serious steam at LadyHacks 2015 this past weekend! We have two Ruby on Rails developers (Dionne and Emily) working on the project - they're currently working on adding authorized user functionality and building out the upload feature. Jen and I worked on metadata for the pre-formatted 2015 epi profile tables and figures, including some shortened versions of titles and adding tags. Our readme has been updated both here and on Github, and I'm working on developing a style guide for the tables. BAM!

You can see the updated metadata spreadsheet here:

Spencer Snygg Update #4

Dear Awesome people,

I don't know why there was an issue with Google Hang Outs last time we had a meeting. Perhaps if any of you have any ideas, we could prevent it from happening again. When I tried logging on, it said the "party has ended" and that hang out link would not work anymore. So I had to create another link and email it to you all. I think we may have lost a few of you in the shuffle. I will be logging on early and emailing you all if there are any problems, so if you have problems logging on, just check your email for the new link.

The current link is:

Here's the latest update: We recently added two additional people to help write questions. One is a specialist on environment/business issues and another is from Camaroon, Africa.

Garret is trying to put together a user verification through email to text messaging, and Ryan is looking into physical infrastructure, cloud structure, security and efficiency for building the site.

It had been awhile since we took a look at the databases, so Sharon and I got together to refresh our memories on what each of the fields was designed for in each of the tables. I will be uploading descriptions soon.

For leaving notes for each other between meetings, we have Hipchat:

Our next meeting is This Saturday, Feb 21st, 12noon Eastern Time. If you have any updates on what you have done, or what you haven't done, I would love to hear from you.

Thanks to everyone for their awesome work so far.


Bill Clinton Update #7

Most of the issues posted on Github have now been resolved.

We are currently altering the app's routing logic in the schedule section, changing the way URL paths are pushed, This should enable any individual page in the schedule section of the app to be added as a bookmark.

Next up, we need to explore some issues we are having receiving schedule data. We hope to define the cause of these issues whether there is route information missing on the server or if the problem is with the requests sent by the app.

Morgan Riffer  PA Fair Funding Education Project Update #1

Reviewed report by the Education Law Center, which summarized different states' funding formulas. Began to collect and connect data from PA Dept. of Ed., Census, and national Dept. of Ed. Brainstormed possible visualizations of the data and the end goal of the project.

Spencer Snygg Update #3

We just had a meeting on Saturday. Many were out sick, but we still had some good accomplishments. New to VoteWise is a quality assurance specialist with a lot of experience with the Committee of Seventy (a group dedicated to combating corruption in Philadelphia elections since 1907). She wants to get on board with focus group testing as soon as possible so we can find errors before they snowball out of control.

Matias produced a couple tests for one of our question types - dragging and dropping items into preferred order.

Our next meeting will be at at noon on Saturday, Feb 7th

Spencer Snygg Update #2

We had a great meeting on Jan 10th where we invited in a number of new members and started working out some of the details of how we can make sure that the poles we create are accurate without making the site feel uninviting for new users. We also talked about how to better design a mostly user run forum in such a way as to let the small voice not get buried by popular up and down votes, while at the same time reducing non-relevant, repetitive or abusive comments, and eliminating spam.

For our next meeting, January 24th at noon (east coast time), we will be checking to see what progress has been made in making a working mock-up, seeing what the rest of the crew has done, and assessing what the current team is capable of in a reasonable amount of time. From there we will make a more realistic goal of what we can release when. We would like to test launch in Allentown,PA so that we can correct any major mistakes before we open it up to Philly, the whole state or go nationwide. We want to fail small instead of failing big, because you only have one chance to make a first impression.

If you haven't been to a meeting before, or if it's been awhile, I would encourage you to come to the meeting beforehand, so I can give you the 5 cent tour and an update on where we are. I will log on at 11am.

To attend, the google hang out is at

Sarah Johnson  Open Access Philly website Update #21

Over the next few months we'll be gathering "impact stories" from OpenAccessPHL speakers and attendees. To highlight the matchmaking and discovery that OAP facilitates, we are interviewing individuals and organizations to find out how OAP helped them and their mission. Please contact us if you would like to share your story

These impact stories will feed into our April convening that will be part of Philly Tech Week. More to come soon!

Mike Bok  Septa Next Bus Update #7

Stuck in a lot of new features - schedule, nearest stop, block id, bus count, destination, direction, and refined how it collects training data. This brought the mean squared error from 3,000,000 to 1,644 in one case which means it was estimating the arrival time roughly under a minute on average.

The weather feature is done on the training side and just needs implemented on the front end side. Also the project now utilizes GTFS data. Next is to begin running everything on a public server and test and debug live issues.

Mike Bok  Septa Next Bus Update #6

Implemented a c++ version of the linear regression algorithm. Fixed the bug that was causing the new learning features to break the algorithm. Next things are more learning features and making the c++ trainer faster.

Stan Pokras  Community Magic Update #3

My Thanks to Daniel for his ability to read the php set up document and guide me through adding the pull down menus for the Multi-Category Search. This feature is now available on Wikidelphia

Community Magic manages­ We're in need of a php person for an hour to help install a new feature called Multi-CategorySearch. It should be a very straight forward task, but just a bit more complicated than I can handle alone. It shouldn't take more than an hour to get this new feature set up. Please let me know if you will be available. Thanks!

Gelsey Torres  Philly Open Health Update #5

We created the new IA to reflect how we are going to categorize the data.

Data is in a variety of formats: - Data Sets - Figures - Tables - Maps - Documents

Under each data format, each piece of data will be categorized by: - Geographic Area - Year - Sex - Race - Age - Source - Health Condition - Risk Behaviors

James Tyack  Unlock Philly Update #12

We're trialling a new webapp that will help us crowdsource accessibility data about local places. We've been working with Austin Seraphin, a web accessibility consultant to ensure that our new app and questionnaire is completely accessible to blind and visually impaired people.

This weekend we're kicking off a week-long trial of the app and will be sharing the results.

You can find our data collection 'Map4Access' trial app here:- (Map4Access Trial App)

Matt Bennett  PlantSwapr Update #2

Today I am grateful for Catherine Killebrew's awesome work in getting me started on the right path! She helped me download software to work with GitHub, Python, and Django for the back-end development of PlantSwapr. I'll be busy doing some basic tutorials to get started next week. It also seems the mock-ups right now will need to be revised based on PlantSwapr becoming a Web App instead of a Mobile App. Also, we will simplify the user experience by separating the services into separate windows. Progress!

Maybe this will be ready for next Fall, or even Spring!

Sarah Johnson  Open Access Philly website Update #20

One improvement we're working on is the way our upcoming convening is displayed on the home page. Currently it is an RSS feed from Eventbrite. The RSS feed uses the CDATA tag to retain HTML tags but when Wordpress interprets the RSS feed it strips all HTML tags.

My current thought is to publish Eventbrite to Google Calendar then add a Google Calendar widget in the Wordpress sidebar since they have better integration than Eventbrite. It's strange to me that the Eventbrite RSS feed has all of the event details in one block called <description>. If all they have are events then why doesn't their RSS feed have tags for <date>, <time>, <location>?

Sarah Johnson  Open Access Philly website Update #19

Some minor updates to the website - linking the values on the [About]( "OpenAccessPHL: About") page to posts related to the values and making links [look like buttons]( "OpenAccessPHL: Suggest a Speaker") with some simple CSS (border radius and padding).

There are many other changes both big and small that are in the works… shifting elements on the home page, activating links in emails, converting blog posts about events to a calendar. Stay tuned!

Rich McMillen (Administrator) Philly Bike Coalition Survey App Update #3

It's been way too long since I added an update.

In the past few months we have:

  • Developed working beta versions of the Android & iOS mobile survey native apps (HTML base - using Cordova)
  • Developed online registration / sign-up portal (where users will schedule their surveys)
  • Performed QA testing
  • Met multiple times with Bike Coalition Staff to solicit feedback, share progress, and setup beta testers

Upcoming we will:

  • Continue bug fixing
  • Continue beta user testing
  • Create assets, media, and content for launches inside App Stores (Could use assistance here! Email, if interested)

Sarah Johnson  Open Access Philly website Update #18

Invigorated by our monthly convening last week, Stacey and I looked at the data and made a plan for what to work on next.

  1. We fixed the broken link in the email. WYSISYG editor fail: the anchor tag in the email template was improperly nested. So we cleaned up the wording, formatting, and now you can actually click on the story title to go read about it! Plans are in place to analyze and improve the email format.

  2. User list import: we use Eventbrite for RSVPs, Wordpress for the site, and AWeber for our email list. But signing up for one does not mean you are automatically signed up for all. Stacey cross-referenced the lists and we added 378 new users from Eventbrite to our email list. The list that escapes us at the moment is how to get our +2k Twitter followers to get our email or show up to our convenings.

  3. Future plans: There is always work to be done on a website so we picked two things. Make the events page a calendar and make the next convening more prominent on the website. Time for our designers to help with the header image!

Suggestions and comments are always welcome so feel free to contact us info @

Sophia Shapira  chorebox Update #1

Looking for someone who works with -cygwin- —- for the purpose of frequently testing this project on that platform, occasionally providing other technical readout information. I have concluded that if at all possible, this package should support -cygwin- —- as to write-off support for -cygwin- without seriously trying to support it would be most inconsistent with the project's philosophy.

Barbara Donnini (Administrator) Clean Air Council's Open Climate Tracker Update #18

We are ready to start testing the prototype. We are going to make sure that the data is being sent to the SD card. We also just got a donation from TEC-IT of 10 GetBlue licenses so we can transfer information to Android.

GetBlue collects data from Bluetooth SPP, TCP/IP, HTTP and camera scanners automatically in the background. The captured data is forwarded to adjustable target devices, files, online spreadsheets or even injected into 3rd party applications. Bi-directional device communication is supported, manual communication functions for reading and writing data are available as well.

Learn more about GetBlue here: Follow TEC-IT on Twitter: Follow TEC-IT on Facebook:

Sarah Johnson  Open Access Philly website Update #17

Nothing earth shattering today, just decided to use the analytics plugin that has +5 million downloads and mostly 5-star ratings: Google Analytics for Wordpress ( Now go visit the site so we can have some analytics to play with!

Michiko Quinones  YadaGuru - College Application Reminders Update #4

WE are now seeing the effects of guidance counselor layoffs. The reason for this app is to help with this now emerging problem. Kids with good SATs, good grades…aren't even applying to college now. Read more here

Sarah Johnson  Open Access Philly website Update #16

Welcome Stacey Mosley, our newest co-organizer! We dove into the data around OpenAccessPHL - website, emails, social media - and developed a plan to increase our user engagement over the next few months. Most importantly, we are figuring out ways to track our progress going forward. OpenAccessPHL is about community engagement in civic innovation so tell us what you want to hear about.

Mike Bok  Septa Next Bus Update #4

The entire pipeline is now complete. The program is now able to collect data for all routes and train against all stops. Currently it only considers lat and lng which is not enough to make a good prediction. Will probably continue on improving the prediction focusing on route 21.

Currently route 21 and stop 14907 is trained -

Michiko Quinones  YadaGuru - College Application Reminders Update #3

Had a super great time at code for philly tonight, met lots of smart people with so many awesome ideas. A group of us came up with an MVP for this that would basically be a web page that would pump out a PDF.

Basically you would choose your schools and click 'go' and then the page would output a PDF with your dates.

To get to this point there will be a few steps:

  1. I will create a excel sheet that basically does the same thing. Enter in one date and all the rest of them populate. Got good advice tonight to include fafsa, school calendar and SAT test dates in the date algorithms.

  2. I'll then take the excel out to guidance counselors and verify that they would like it and use it and that the data is correct.

  3. Once that's done, I'll head back to code for philly for help in building the webpage.

Future Visioning was great too. And include:

  1. Use Phonegap to easily wrap the webpage
  2. With the app, encourage a sharing buddy, someone who can help you with the process.
  3. Be able to link to facebook and post pictures at key points like 'here's me at the SAT!!!'
  4. Give Guidance - not just short summaries but in-depth on the WHY you need to do each of the steps.

So the update…i'm working on the excel sheet. See ya soon!

Abdus-Salaam Muwwakkil  uForage Philly Update #3

Utilizing Parse as the Backend Framework; Team uForage has began developing features of the app successfully integrated:

Android API Push Notification — Social Media [Twitter/Instagram] data pulling (GEO) — Android App Authentication.

Source code will be shared by next week; Join our Trello if you wish to get involved. Feed the birds

Mike Bok  Septa Next Bus Update #2

The code now stores data in mysql, prepares the training data, trains with the training data, and parses the result. The front end API is already done. The last remaining step is to store the results into mysql and modify the php front end to use it.

Sarah Johnson  Open Access Philly website Update #15

Now that posts have been successfully publishing to the website via email for one solid month, it's time to add two more variables: synchronizing website posts to facebook and twitter. Simple, right?

After 3hrs of unsuccessful testing configurations in wordpress plugins for facebook and twitter, I finally took a suggestion to use If This Then That ( I followed instructions for both facebook and twitter plugins and authorization was not established for either one. I feel defeated by what should be a simple OAuth linkage with an API token but the effectiveness of IFTTT is very appealing after hours of frustration.

Jack Amoratis  You Need to Eat This Update #2

Project update: Team is continuing to work on Python web app and general html assets. Going on hiatus for a few weeks while main programmer is on vacation. Housekeeping note: We have not seen and do not know the person "Xiangwei Meng" who lists themself as 'CEO' (this is not a business, it is an open source project.) But we'd love any and all help people would like to provide. :) Current team is: Jack Amoratis, main organizer and programmer; Abdus-Salaam Muwwakkil researching web app; Alex Olson helping with web design; Ian Nieves willing to learn Python to help with web app. Looking forward to resuming work in a few weeks!

Michiko Quinones  YadaGuru - College Application Reminders Update #2

Happy to have this space to put the idea out:

This application will guide kids through the difficult college application process.

From start to finish, this should be the go-to for anyone applying to college. Instead of missing deadlines and frustrating family members, this app will work with the student to encourage them to complete the portions of their application as they move through the process.

We really want to develop this for the kids of Philadelphia, who have no counselors anymore with the budget crisis and need a lot of help.

We're hoping the project will bridge gaps for a lot of people.

See the wireframes

Read more about the full project here

Dave Walk  Electronic Intern Update #4

Spending time writing documentation since I've mainly forgotten how this app works! Remember always to document, kids.

PhillyASAP is looking to launch this at the end of the month.

Dave Walk  Electronic Intern Update #3

Spending time writing documentation since I've mainly forgotten how this app works! Remember always to document, kids.

PhillyASAP is looking to launch this at the end of the month.

Ben Novack (Administrator) Philly Open Health Update #3

We presented the project to the attendees of the GirlDevelopIt/CodeforPhilly joint meetup! If you're one of those we spoke to about joining the project, this is it - welcome! And if you're not, welcome anyway. We're working to make public health data more accessible to the public, and learning web development as we go.

Mike Bok  Septa Next Bus Update #1

Got the remaining parts of the proof of concept running from (6?) months ago. Put the code in mercurial on sourceforge and built a small landing page for the project. Should be able to begin planning out / contributing new work from here out.

James Tyack  Unlock Philly Update #6

Other news:-

  • We're now tracking elevator outage start/end times and building a history of outages by stop/station. It's possible to see length of time since outage began and once we get more history built up we'd like to plot something similar to GitHub timeline graph that shows history of outages by station.
  • Today is global accessibility awareness day; there is an event tonight at Comcast and at the end of the month a #hack4access Hackathon where we'll be hacking on new features
  • We'd like to build features into the site to make the map accessible for blind people; if anyone has ideas or would like to get involved, get in touch!

Rich McMillen (Administrator) Philly Bike Coalition Survey App Update #2

Here are some updates covering the past few weeks.

  • Begun building proof of concepts associated with the volunteer survey count mobile app (building in HTML5, but leveraging PhoneGap to ultimately provide a native app for volunteers)
  • Began testing the user experience through mock "on the street" counting
  • Met with Bike Coalition staff to obtain early feedback and collect further detailed requirements

If anyone is still interested in becoming engaged, please don't hesitate to contact Rich, Joe, or Mike! Development talent, user interface design talent, marketing talent, or any type of "in training" skill sets could be leveraged.


Dave Walk  Electronic Intern Update #2

A few days ago I pretty much finished this up. It calls a CSV list of phone numbers and plays the script provided by PhillyASAP. If the user presses one it forwards to the PhillyASAP office. If the user presses four it'll repeat the instructions.

Tonight we setup PhillyASAP's Twilio account so that we're ready to make live calls. In the meantime they're going to try to get the Mayor to record a few different versions of their script to play instead of Twilio's robot voice.

Looking to go live with this in June and see how it does!

Sarah Johnson  Open Access Philly website Update #13

Launch!!! The site is live and ready for Philly Tech Week. I still need to figure out a better way to deploy from a test to live site in Wordpress but it worked and worked in time for Technically Philly to publish their article about it.

Next up: phase 2! Adding features to the site (user registration and posting capability), refining the style, improving the test/deploy process.

Sarah Johnson  Open Access Philly website Update #12

Content is nearly complete, design is finished for the time being, it looks like a real website! The website is integrated with AWeber so users can sign up to receive an email when an article is posted. Postie (WordPress plugin) is used to receive posts by email which are saved as drafts then published when approved. All we need now is some users to share their civic-minded content! We throw the switch over the weekend

Sarah Johnson  Open Access Philly website Update #11

Almost ready for launch! Well the look/feel is anyway. Nnena provided and refined logo files today and we got so far as adjusting space between lines of text. What's left is implementing a content strategy and importing archived content from Basecamp. Launch day: April 7th!

Join us:

James Tyack  Unlock Philly Update #5

Unlock Philly in Philly

Last week NBC10, this week Philly. People are noticing us and want to help us improve access for everyone using transit and services in Philly

James Tyack  Unlock Philly Update #4

Welcoming Chris Ivey and Kevin Lee to the project!

Kevin Lee and Chris Ivey are ramping up on all things Unlock Philly and already closing down some bugs and features in Github. Last night we hacked in West Philly Starbucks and released changes to Heroku. Watch this space for exciting new features that help out Philly's mass transit riders!

Sarah Johnson  Open Access Philly website Update #11

Adding the AWeber piece to our puzzle, using their form plugin on wordpress and generating email content with their Blog Broadcast tool. This will allow users to subscribe to receive updates as well as post their own content to the OAP blog. Besides that, continue to tweak the style and layout and we're ready for launch during Philly Tech Week!

Joshua Meyer  Clean Air Council's Open Climate Tracker Update #11

Code for Philly was just featured on the White House's blog as part of the President's Climate Data Initiative:

Here is the excerpt about the project:

Code for Philly: Using City Buses to Help Monitor Local Climate Change-Related Pollution.
Code for Philly, Code for America’s Philadelphia Brigade, is announcing the development of a new mobile sensor network they aim to run on city buses to gather temperature and pollution data across the city, allowing researchers to track the effects of climate change on and its pollutants in areas across an entire city. This data will be combined with OpenTreeMaps, a platform for crowdsourced tree inventory and urban forestry analysis, to determine the value of trees in combating climate change. The data will also be openly available so developers can incorporate and convey information on local pollution and heat levels in real time to citizens.

Joshua Meyer  Clean Air Council's Open Climate Tracker Update #10

Worked on getting a more efficient network setup so that we can add more nodes quicker. Moved to using X-CTU, which is also available on Mac. Looked into connecting GPS and other devices directly to the XBee, which would cut cost. Next step is to finalize network setup and begin collecting data remotely.

Nnena Odim  Open Access Philly website Update #10

Lots of good things are happening with the Open Access Philly website/rebranding effort! A logo is nearly finalized, a brand guideline is in place, and Sarah is working on translating the brand guide into CSS. We are all working hard toward the unveiling of the new look for Philly Tech Week.

Karin Brown (Administrator) Open Access Philly website Update #9

Hello everybody,

Update for this week from Code for Philly! So Sarah, Nnena, Yuriy and I talked and we have looked over the website. So far Sarah has been making things look terrific. During CFP we will be working on mockups of what the website looks like in both black and white so we can think about which would be a better look and will be brainstorming on what type of font and font color would be good as well.

Here's a update:

Things to remove: *Search bar from footer *Remove highlighting on "new convening" bar

On footer, get everyone onto one line Make sure the highlight color for the website is not the same as the word color.

Everybody have a good week.

Jim Smiley  StationDown Update #4

mapped city streets labeled class 5 - Local Street to get a sense of whether they're too small for fire trucks to drive down.

Sarah Johnson  Open Access Philly website Update #8

We used the convenience of the last OAP convening to gather some keywords and abstract ideas from OAP leaders about the logo and design of the site. Nnena got some great feedback to take to the drawing board. I finally understand child themes in Wordpress and am ready to make some change at the next CfP night.

Yuriy Porytko  Open Access Philly website Update #6

Today’s CfP is at the amazing new City Coho Nexus Philly coworking facility @co_nexus We did a bit of planning both with the in person team, thanks Karin! and with celebrity call in ( thanks Jeff ! ) and talked layout, content and some font and design elements. We’re making good progress and are confident we’ll hit our self imposed schedule!

Sarah Johnson  Open Access Philly website Update #5

Snow has foiled many plans recently, including the last CfP gathering. We're still developing a logo but might have decided on colors for the site. The next steps are wireframing and assigning colors to elements of the site. In the meantime, I brushed up on my javascript skills and embedded Eventbrite in the current site for easier updates.

Sarah Johnson  Open Access Philly website Update #4

A lot of talking ensued last night but not a lot of typing. It's a collaborative effort so I suppose that is to be expected at times. Efforts were focused on fine-tuning an updated logo (yet to be confirmed) and reviewing the content of slides for an "Intro to PHL Tech" workshop which will serve as a starting point for the content of the Open Access Philly website.

Stan Pokras  Community Magic Update #1

Were building a model data system from which we will develop a Web based platform to hold information about community members' needs, skills, and interests.

The information will be collected by people who serve their neighbors (or other community members) by being connection points and helping people to find each other as appropriate. We are referring to these people as community information advocates.

The community information advocates will help people in their own community find each other and help to connect to people in other communities using the Web based platform.

Once the model is complete (along with field descriptions and structural requirements) we will need the services of people who can build the actual Web based platform.

Ben Novack (Administrator) Philly Open Health Update #1

In advance of tonight's meetup: There's a new repository on GitHub for our design documents, starting with some interface mockups that Briana Morgan (our HIVPhilly contact) has blessed.

Sarah Johnson  Open Access Philly website Update #3

Designers, developer and content expert were finally all at the same CfP gathering this past Thursday. We sat down and brainstormed general design principles for Open Access Philly (OAP) to guide our plans going forward. The consensus was that OAP should have a minimally designed site that highlights the content, making it easy for anyone to read and understand, a truly open forum for civic-minded Philadelphians.

We have a test site to play with using Bootstrap Ultimate.

Our next steps are: 1. Update the current website with the old design to contain current information. 2. Create dummy blog posts to better understand the chosen Wordpress theme. 3. Enable widgets in Wordpress. 4. Choose color schemes. 5. Work on logo designs.

Tobey Hughes  Philly HealthData Update #8

hello, going to start a asana (project management tool) page & a hipchat for our team.

Plus, next time we have our full team, would love to discuss precedents of systems such as the one we are trying to build!

examples - redcap - epic - online banking systems - functions in mat-lab that could be useful

Yuriy Porytko  Open Access Philly website Update #2

On January 14th 2014 We spent time on understanding the history and mission of Open Access Philly so that the design and front end folks that joined the team would have a deep understanding of the context of OAP as they're developing their plans for the update of the site's design and layout. We also framed out the schedule and are targeting April 7th 2014 for the launch of the new site during PTW 2014.

Yuriy Porytko  Open Access Philly website Update #1

Made great progress in organizing and planning and team building at last night's ( January 7th 2014 ) co-meetup with GDI Philly.

Kevin helped Sarah with some great Wordpress mentoring on how to port over things from server to server and more….

Got some great design talent recruited with the help of the GDI crew in getting Nnena to join the project!

Kathryn Killebrew  OpenTripPlanner Update #29

I've posted a publicly available Amazon machine image of an OpenTripPlanner and Nominatim server, with data and a current graph build, along with scripts for its care and feeding, that covers the same areas as the current instance at Philly, NYC, NJ, and DE.
It's over here: Public AMI ami-11765d78 named "OpenTripPlanner Northeast" Owner 130332012311

Notes on its management in a Google doc, here:

Briana Morgan  Philly HealthData Update #5

Completed first D3 visualization thanks to Bilwaj - race/ethnicity by county for the nine-county Philadelphia area. Next step, trying to get all of that data out of PDF format. And Ben has graciously offered to help from a project management standpoint.

Jack Amoratis  Clean Air Council's Open Climate Tracker Update #8

FTDIUSBSerialDriver USB driver install; HoRNDIS USB tethering driver Mac OS X Install Preliminary Tests; Josh sketched out flow chart of interactions between sensors/Arduino/Beaglebone; Jack connected OS X to Beaglebone board; This coming week Jack will examine IDE, might reinstall Linux on Beaglebone; Goal is to be able to begin process of examining interaction with Arduino next week

Joshua Meyer  Clean Air Council's Open Climate Tracker Update #6

Have the breadboard 1284p working. Adding components to test the RAM capacity with the workload.

[id]: "1284p Breadboard"

Next step is to integrate RX/TX serial communication with BeagleBone.

Mjumbe Poe  Councilmatic Update #2

The Philly instance getting updated! Cory and Tk did some awesome work on a facelift a few months back that's finally going live. The project is at until all the kinks are worked out, then it will be switched over to

Soon, we're going to start work on a proper project website that will occupy and link to city-specific Councilmatic instances that are live or in development.

Kevin Clough (Administrator) Update #6 has changed its geocoder service api to use google's geocoder. This will provide much more accurate results.

We've also fixed all known issues.

We're currently looking for beta testers. Check out the latest version at

Kathryn Killebrew  OpenTripPlanner Update #25

Now serving a Nominatim geocoder for PA, NJ, NY, and DE:

OpenTripPlanner's geocoder module is in place to use our Nominatim instance, but the web app doesn't know about it yet. Here's an example query:

Also, updated data for NJ TRANSIT and MTA.

Dias Gotama  Philly Phlash App Update #5

We are happy and proud that the Philly Phlash app is included in "30 Mobile Apps Every Philadelphian Should Have on their iPhone or Android Device"

Matt Bennett  PlantSwapr Update #1

Showed first iteration mockup to folks at Code4Philly and got some good feedback. Now headed back to the drawing board to make a Pinterest-like start page and simplify the map screen.

David Whitaker  LocalWiki Update #1

Here are a couple of action items I'd like to grind out:

Create a Compelling Story: "Why Should People Care?" - Pride - Value

"Who Benefits & How?" - Tourism & Hospitality - Local Govt - Retail - Citizens

"How Do they Get Involved?" - hackathon - social media - crowdsourcing

Abel Alfaro  Enter/Return Update #2

Thank you to everyone who voted for us on!

We are currently in the first stages: developing the idea, refining the design, and building an initial prototype over one weekend, at the Philly Transit Hackathon organized by Code for America Philly.

This project has enlisted the help of software developers Rob, Mike, and Cory. Rob, an employee of the Philadelphia-based B Corporation Azavea, brought Geotrellis transit to the table to help with travel time analysis.

We are using the database from the Prisoner Reentry Network to develop an interactive map of available resources near an address entered by the user.

Preliminary sketches:

Abel Alfaro  Enter/Return Update #1


Development of Initial Prototype

The initial concept and prototype for "Enter/Return" was developed at the Apps for Philly Transit Hackathon organized by Code for America Philly over the weekend of September 20-22.

It was developed using GitHub and GeoTrellis, and pulled data from the Philadelphia Prison Reentry Network resources list.

James Tyack  Unlock Philly Update #1

New accessibility project kicked off at Transit Apps For Philly to help users of transit that have previously found it difficult to get around. Please read about the project and come help if interested!

Kevin Clough (Administrator) Update #4

Updated to use OpenTripPlanner for schedule and trip planning and SmartyStreets API for auto complete.

New design thanks to Ali and Ryon

LeafletJS based maps

Uses latest Sencha Touch

Coming Soon: * Septa Perks * Tokens * Bookmarks * Alerts * Push Notifications (native only)

Faye Anderson  All That Philly Jazz Update #1

All That Philly Jazz app breathes life into the local jazz scene <>

Philly Jazz App: app to map Philly’s jazz history <>

Chris Alfano (Administrator) laddr (powers Update #10

Some great updates tonight!

@ryon55 cleaned up the CSS for the sidebars and activity on the home page, and gave the members page some much-needed love

I implemented the bootstrap-tagsinput widget on the edit profile page and edit project page so that you can tag yourself and your projects with tech:* and topic:* tags that link to the home page sidebar

Briana Morgan  Philly HealthData Update #2

Briana is still uploading tables (currently at 58/219), merging tables where appropriate, and growling at her computer.

Kristen is playing with charts and trying not to kick Fusion tables in the shins.

Kelsey is researching similar sites for information architecture purposes, and coming up with flattering nicknames for everyone.

Corey Acri (Administrator) Bike Route Tracker (CyclePhilly) Update #10

  • Lloyd has the android app running on his google glass! He is going to compile a build for android testers

  • Corey changed some of the color schemes on the map site and is updating the iOS UI elements.

  • Kevin is working on improving the "note this" functionality to allow users to drop a pin on locations with route issues post-ride.

  • Lloyd and Dave working on backend for compiling and outputting raw route data.

Corey Acri (Administrator) Bike Route Tracker (CyclePhilly) Update #8

On a desktop computer, go to, select all of the categories and click update. You should see a thin orange line running south down Broad Street from Spring Garden.

That's my inaugural test run with the Philly Cycle App! (I thought it would be fitting to go down Broad Street and around City Hall).

The app, server and map are up and running thanks to the gracious work of Lloyd and Chris and also Chris LeDantec in Atlanta who was willing to share all of the code from his version of the project, including the interactive map.

There is still quite a bit of work to do. To list a few things, the App, website, etc. all need to be rebranded to Philly (you will notice a lot of the remnants of the Atlanta site are still on the website). The UI on the map is a little wonky so we have to tweak that. We also have to get the Android app up and running and figure out how to output the raw longitude and latitude data in a form the planners in the city can use.

Corey Acri (Administrator) Bike Route Tracker (CyclePhilly) Update #7

I just spoke to Chris LeDantec from Cycle Atlanta. They used Leaflet to map the datapoints from the cycling app. The framework for the web-facing map seems quite flexible. Chris was kind enough to point me to the source code for all of the Cycle Atlanta stuff on github:

I would like to see if we can take a look at this tonight and piece some stuff together.

Corey Acri (Administrator) Bike Route Tracker (CyclePhilly) Update #2

I have reached out to the folks who ran the San Francisco Project and the Austin Project. One of them is out of the office until Monday and I am hoping to get a call back from the other. I am hoping we can get this server side code from one of them.

I will keep you posted and hopefully have something to report on Tuesday.

Kevin Clough (Administrator) Bike Route Tracker (CyclePhilly) Update #1

I've reviewed the open source projects that are available, and it looks like we need. To get access the server side code that is acting as a data repository for the mobile app. Once we see what they're using for that and hopefully gain access to the source code, we can easily rebrand and update the mobile clients to be used in Philadelphia.

I'm very interested in working on the iOS app, and perhaps the android app as well.

Chris Alfano (Administrator) After-school Wiki Update #2

The After-school Programs homepage now features a list of sub-pages that offer programs tagged by grade-level, season, and subject.

I only added tags so far to the Mighty Writers page as an example, we need volunteer editors to help research and categorize more programs!

Jeff Maher  Reclaim Philly Update #1

Our web and iOS versions are well on their way. However, we could use a hand with getting the Android version started and are seeking help. If interested, contact Jeff (@plusjeff).

Yuriy Porytko  Philly Phlash App Update #3

It is with great pleasure that the Independence Visitor Center, Code for Philly, nvigor, OpenAccessPhilly and Campus Philly announce an innovative collaborative effort in civic technology and hometown pride.

This accomplishment is something unique and ground breaking in that this many groups and organizations, all looking to make Philadelphia better and more amazing for its citizens and our visitors through technology, came together and built the Philly Phlash App for our Independence Visitor Center.

Here's the IVCC's press release:

Yuriy Porytko  Philly Phlash App Update #2

The Philly Phlash App is designed by Code for Philly to be smartphone platform agnostic and will optimize on your smartphone regardless of carrier and device you use, iPhone, Andriod, Windows phone, Blackberry etc. Give it a try and tell us what you think!

Yuriy Porytko  Philly Phlash App Update #1

The Philly Phlash app is now built and is being released: It is a mobile site and will be promoted by the Independence Visitor Center for the use of the millions of visitors that come to Philadelphia and use the Phlash shuttle to get around easily in America's most historic square mile and city. Congrats to the CfP team that put this together. The site will be hosted and maintained by Code for Philly and the CfP team will continuously improve and update this site based on client and user feedback.

Mjumbe Poe  Councilmatic Update #1

There has been a ton of awesome work on the project in the bootstrap-templates branch, thanks to Forrest Gregg and Derek Eder from in Chicago. We need some help to update the Philly instance to pull in the changes!

Christopher Nies (Administrator) GreenSTEM Network Update #5

We won!

Well, more accurately, we received the 2nd place award at the AT&T Edutech Hackathon event last week. Our project was in awesome form - we had the completed prototype hardware (complete with metal-and-plastic sunflower!) and a bucket of dirt. And during the presentation, we pour some water in it, and lo-and-behold, the data was being updated in realtime on the website!

Live demoing like a boss (a group of bosses, really).

Our project is looking good. Now we're moving into the next phase of Solar Sunflower improvements, the "would-be-nice" stuff that will really make it shine.

This includes: 1. SD Card for logging the data in case the network goes down 2. Additional sensors, including temperature, sunlight, etc. 3. Connecting to data sources for context (such as USGS stuff) using our server 4. Sprucing up the user interface on the student/teacher side to make understanding the data easier!

We're also using D3, which is a powerful graphing library for JavaScript. We want to improve the graphing and data presentation to make it useful to students and teachers alike.

Christopher Nies (Administrator) GreenSTEM Network Update #4

So Matt and I (Chris) worked on Solar Sunflower Saturday as a part of the AT&T EduTech Hackathon!

I was a little frustrated walking in, because I was reconstructing code that we'd lost after a computer-related accident. But Kevin and his eidetic memory saved the day, and we were able to remake the code and get our Arduino talking to the Ruby server!

This being the first time I'd ever worked with Ruby code (literally ever), I had to do a little bit of learning to get the whole thing working. Luckily, experience with Django helped quite a bit and it didn't take too much time.

There WERE 3 hours of trying to figure out problems that ultimately stemmed from our network connection. The Arduino couldn't register for Temple's guest network, so I was using Brian James Kirk's iPhone to tether (thanks Brian!) - unfortunately, something strange was going on and connections were being filtered for no reason. Once I switched to my phone for tethering it worked great!

Matt was working on getting our storage system up on another Arduino shield that he soldered himself! He also did the polish for the presentation, which we ended up ditching in favor of a live demo (we are brave, or stupid, or both).

I was also able to successfully get REAL values posted to the Ruby server, as opposed to the dummy data we were using. Coding for an Arduino (in Processing) is an interesting exercise in programming paradigms I'm less familiar with. Strong typing, for instance (I know Python is technically strongly typed, but the workarounds are so easy as to be practically intuitive).

At any rate - our team is one of five that were selected to be finalists for the $5,000 prize! We'll be presenting at an event during Philly Tech Week, by which time we hope to have the website polished, the waterproof housing complete, and an exposed API for the students to use!

Chris Alfano (Administrator) After-school Wiki Update #1

LocalWiki is now a little closer to its new home!

We are still seeking editors that can help create pages and maps in the wiki from the lists we already have access to. The LocalWiki website has more information under the "How to help out" section on its home page.

Christopher Nies (Administrator) GreenSTEM Network Update #3

Tonight's another night of Arduino hacking! As of last time, we're at a point where our Arduino is communicating with our Rails app (although they don't understand one another just yet).

So this evening we're going to be working on getting them talking the same language. In addition, I want to put out an open invitation to anyone who might be interested in this project in particular or Arduino in general to come by and check us out! I'll be bringing my Arduino for someone else to try, so if you have a laptop, I can even get you set up to start experimenting with Arduino code yourself!

Some of our goals for this evening include: -Getting communication with the Rails server working -Passing actual collected data from the moisture sensors to the server (right now we're just using dummy data to get it to work) -POSSIBLY integrating data storage code for an SD card on the Arduino, so that we'll have a backup in case the network goes down -POSSIBLY beginning design and architecture of a simple queuing system so that data that is NOT sent for whatever reason IS sent when communication is restored.

Chris Alfano (Administrator) Update #1 received a couple minor updates today:

  • Now uses Sencha Touch production build tools optimally:
    • Site and initial routes list can be loaded without any internet connection thanks to a combination of HTML5 manifest caching and LocalStorage
    • Any updates to the site will be downloaded via a tiny delta patch after the app is running and the user will be prompted to restart
  • Building on some initial work by Richard Gottlieb, alerts are fetched after selecting a bus/trolley route now and will be displayed above the map if found.

Christopher Nies (Administrator) GreenSTEM Network Update #2

Well, last night was our second meetup at Drexel's ExCITe center. Matt, Amir, Jason, and I worked on the project for a couple of hours and we made real progress!

As of last night, our Arduino has been upgraded from a kind-of-finicky Ethernet shield to a much more easygoing WiFi shield. We were able to connect to the ExCITe WiFi network without a problem! So we spent the meetup tweaking our Rails server app and integrating our existing Arduino code with the new hardware.

After a bit of trouble, we got the Arduino talking with the Rail app! Right now we're still working on constructing a proper POST request via the Arduino (and passing the JSON-packaged sensor data along with it) but a dialog has been opened!

This next meetup, we're going to: 1. Continue our Rails work 2. Figure out how to send the POST request 3. Start working on passing the actual sensor values to the POST request

Jeffrey Mealo (Administrator) Safest Way Update #2

I've found the pedestrian, bike and motor vehicle congestion information we need to make this a truly useful tool here:

Data dumps are limited to 500 records so I have reached out to get a full dump of this information.

Cross walk update: Every intersection is considered a cross walk so other than analyzing aerial photos there doesn't appear to be a way to get this information.

An aside, after talking with the streets department, cross walk data might not be necessary as the city has made great efforts to ensure traffic control devices show vehicles and pedestrians when it's safe to cross. Painting the cross walk doesn't significantly increase safety beyond those efforts from what I understand. It's important to teach our kids how to safely cross roads, rather than to rely on drivers and white lines.

Jeffrey Mealo (Administrator) Safest Way Update #1

I'm working on getting data for traffic control devices and cross walks as well as motor vehicle collisions.

Some of the challenges are that PennDOT isn't responsible for this data because Philadelphia is a first class city.

We have an "impervious surface" dataset which should help us find out where elevated foot paths and sidewalks are, however, I don't think that data includes cross-walks.

It's possible that we can launch an effort to mark cross-walks by hand using aerial photography and also classify how busy a street is.

I estimate that task being a minimum of 700 man hours of analyzing the aerial data.

Christopher Nies (Administrator) GreenSTEM Network Update #1

We've got the basics of the server-side application and the database running! In addition, our Arduino communicates with the sensors and packages the data it finds in JSON format. Right now we're continuing work on the server-side and writing code to connect the Arduino to the internet.