Save the Date! Open Data Day is on March 4th, 2017!

Guess what? It’s that time of the year again! Woohoo!

What: Open Data Day
Where: Manoa Innovation Center, 2800 Woodlawn Dr #100
When: Saturday, March 4th, 2017 from 9 am until 5 pm
Who: YOU!

Please RSVP on our meetup page so we know how much food to get! If you aren’t registered, you won’t be able to eat! 😀

On March 4, 2017, Code for America will hold its sixth annual “CodeAcross” event called Open Data Day to coincide with International Open Data Day.  Code Across is a weekend of civic hacking events hosted by over 100 cities in the Code for America network around the world.  The goal is to activate the Code for America network and inspire residents everywhere to get actively involved in their community.

The theme for this year is “Storytelling with Data”. Code for Hawaii is hosting the Honolulu event at Manoa Innovation Center (Big ups to our sponsor, HTDC) on March 4, 2017. We’ll be in the Presentation and Ideation rooms from 9 am to 5 pm.

We have speakers representing the ACLU and the Grassroots Institute to speak about the problems around open data and data transparency.  We’ll be having a data portal showdown highlighting the various data portals in the state. In addition, we’ll have an educational track where you’ll learn the tools necessary to tell stories with data – these tools include how to use source control, command line tools to scrape and parse data, and tools to help visualize the data. Finally, for those interested in working on real projects, we’ll have a project track with several real-world projects to work on that are focused around open data.

What to bring

Your laptop, power cables, monitors, wifi hot spots, ideas and most importantly… YOU!


(*Schedule will get updated as we get closer to March 4th)

  • 9:15am – Keynote
  • 9:30am – Speaker Track
  • 10:15am – Educational Track / Project Track begin
  • 12pm – Lunch / Grinds!
  • 1pm – Hawaii Portal Showdown featuring Hawaii’s data portals
  • 2pm – Educational Track / Project Track continue
  • 4pm – Group Presentations!


This year, our event is being sponsored by the wonderful folks over at HTDC!





In addition, we’d also like to thank the wonderful folks over at Box Jelly, Hawaii’s First Coworking space, for allowing us to host our project / planning nights there.


Hope to see you on March 4th!

Support Code for Hawaii on #GivingTuesday

It’s official! Our 2016 #GivingTuesday campaign has begun!

As the only civic tech group in Hawaii, our goal is to raise $5,000 which will go toward space at Box Jelly, food for our project nights, and costs associated with hosting local events.

Most of your fellow supporters donate $50. 


Use #GivingTuesday to help us spread the word to friends and family!

#GivingTuesday is held annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday) to kick-off the holiday giving season and inspire people to give back in impactful ways to the charities and causes they support.

Your donations enable us to continually engage the civic tech community and help make Hawaii a better place.


Code for Hawaii Core Team

p.s. This year, we hosted both Code Across and National Day of Civic Hacking as well as organized 30+ meetups. We have fostered a number of civic projects, two of which include RedeemHi5 and the soon-to-be released Come check out our meetups if you’re interested in what we’re working on!

National Day of Civic Hacking Recap!

On Saturday, June 4, 2016, 40+ Hawaii civic innovators participated in the 2016 National Day of Civic Hacking. We had a few special guests including:

  • Karen Higa from the State CIO’s office
  • Brian Black from The Civil Beat Law Center
  • Jennifer Brooks from Office of Information Practices
  • Hawaii State Librarian, Stacey Aldrich
  • Jan Nakamoto and Momi Fernandez from the US Census Bureau
  • Ben Trevino, COO of Bikeshare Hawaii

For National Day of Civic Hacking, we decided to focus on the following four projects that are important to our community:

  1. State Budget Visualization
  2. UIPA Record Request
  3. MakerHawaii
  4. Bikeshare Hawaii

In addition, members also worked on the following Code for America suggested projects:

  1. Challenge: Applying for Food Stamps
  2. Challenge: Applying for Affordable Housing
  3. Challenge: Honey, I’m home! (EPA)

Here’s what this amazing day looked like:

After a fun, 8-hours of civic hacking, we had each group present what they accomplished. Here’s a small recap of the teams and what everyone worked on.

National Day of Civic Hacking Results

State Budget Visualization

State Budget Visualization team
McKay, John, Jon, Jennifer, Krislin, Yukio, and Andrew

Led by McKay Davis and Jon Geyer in collaboration with Karen Higa, the team worked on a number of data visualizations related to the State budget. Check out what they worked on here!

If you’re into data viz, I would highly encourage you all to check out the amazing crossfilter, Sankey, treemap, wordmap, calendar, and graph database visualization of the State Budget.

As a disclaimer, data was sourced from and after doing a cursory review, the expenditures data appears to be incomplete.  We’re continuing to work with different Hawaii State stakeholders to establish which portions are missing and why.

Link to Github source code.

If you’re interested in javascript, data visualizations and the stories that can be told, please reach out to mckay[at]codeforhawaii[dot]org or jon[at]codeforhawaii[dot]org.

UIPA Record Requests

Russ, Brian, Ryan, and George
Russ, Brian, Ryan, and George

Led by Ryan Kanno in collaboration with Brian Black from the Civil Beat Law Center, the team worked on redeploying a version of Froide, a Freedom of Information Portal for the islands.

At the start of the day, there were 2 critical blockers and 24 issues that needed to be fixed before beta testing with users can begin. With a team of senior engineers, they got through 17 out of the 26 issues including the 2 critical blockers. Check out what they’re working on here.

Link to Github source code.

If you’re interested in python, Django, and FOI requests, please reach out to ryan[at]codeforhawaii[dot]org.


Makerhawaii team
Laura, Nicole, Russell, and Ryan

Led by Nicole Hori and Russell Vea in collaboration with Stacey Aldrich the State Librarian, the team worked on cleaning up data about various Makerspaces on island for the MakerHawaii website they’ve been working on as well as creating a fully functional Android application from scratch!

Link to Github source code for MakerHawaii website.

Link to Github source code for MakerHawaii Android application.

Check out the demo of the MakerHawaii Android application below.

If you’re interested in WordPress, maps, and Makerspaces, please reach out to russell[at]codeforhawaii[dot]org.

*Citizen Onboarding

Citizen Onboarding team
Joe and Sara

Led by Sara Kanno, the team tackled two Code for America Citizen Onboarding challenges as well as filling out the digital census. They went through and deconstructed the following two State websites:

  1. Subsidized Housing
  2. Food Stamp Application

Watch their Citizen Onboarding presentation:

If you’re interested in helping finish these Citizen Onboarding projects, please reach out to sara[at]kanno[dot]io.

*Honey, I’m Home

003-NDOCH Teams

A one-man programming machine, Laurence Lee worked on the Code for America Honey, I’m Home! (EPA) Challenge and demoed a functional Android application that could take photos and let scientists identify bees. Like Ryan from the MakerHawaii team, Laurence crafted and deployed an Android application in less than 8 hours. Click here to check out a demo site!


The server-side is written in Ruby on Rails, and the mobile-client is Ionic2/Angular2/TypeScript.

Link to Github source code for Honey, I’m Home Challenge app

Bikeshare Hawaii

Led by Ben Trevino, we unfortunately missed a photo opportunity with the team as they had another engagement. Totally our fault! With that said, here’s an amazing photo of the team at work!

Bikeshare Hawaii team
Bikeshare Hawaii team

My sincerest apology if you were on a team and not featured in a picture. We took photos at the end of the day instead of at the start. Lesson learned!

Thank yous!

Putting on an event like this takes an entire village island, and I’d like to thank the following:

  • All the invited guests and participants for spending an entire Saturday with us
  • All the project leads for helping coordinate their projects
  • Russ Tokuyama, Ryan Tsukamoto, and Joseph Heaukulani for helping setup and ensure everyone got coffee / lunch!
  • Laurie Sumiye for not only spending the entire day documenting what we do here at Code for Hawaii, but also editing that wonderful video on top!
  • Our main sponsor, HTDC, who helped us secure the facilities, but more importantly, has always supported the “boots on the ground” local tech community here in Hawaii.

Without the efforts of everyone involved, this event would be nowhere near as successful as it was.


There were some wonderful insights gained from the hackathon this weekend.

  • If you give people an opportunity and a stage for meaningful work, they will never cease to amaze you. I was absolutely floored at the quality of the presentations and demos at the end of the day.  This may be a bit biased, but this definitely had the best presentation/demos of any hackathon on island.
  • Preparation of discrete project tasks prior to the event led to better outcomes. Historically, we’ve had a shotgun-like approach to projects that often spread our community too thin and led to more chit-chat than actual output. Giving people specific projects and tasks to work on led to quite the output.
  • Code for Hawaii has a lot to learn about what building this “community” really means. We can learn a lot from Dan O’Neil’s exit interview that states ‘We need a general agreement that we have to move from placing the alpha-geek at the center of our movement. We have to stop paying lip service to “build with, not for” and actually start implementing those principles into our work.’  I’m excited with where we’re going in Hawaii, but we’ve only just begun. Like the Civic Makers out in San Francisco, we need a better co-discovery process where we “discover with, not for” people in our community.

“We are still seeing way too many projects from well meaning professionals who do not understand the context for the problem space they’re working on. Waiting until after you have defined the problem to seek out users’ perspectives means your project team may be playing on the wrong field moving toward the wrong goal.”

– Susan Stuart Clark

If you had a great time at National Day of Civic Hacking and want to continue to improve our local communities and work with government to solve these problems, I’m hoping to see you at our next meetup.



Save the Date! National Day of Civic Hacking is on June 4th 2016!

Guess what? It’s that time of the year again! Woohoo!

What: Hack to the Future IV
Where: Manoa Innovation Center, 2800 Woodlawn Dr #100
When: Saturday, June 4th, 2016 from 9 am until 5 pm
Who: YOU!

Please RSVP on our meetup page so we know how much food to get! 😀

On June 4, 2016, Code for Hawaii will be participating in the National Day of Civic Hacking. National Day of Civic Hacking is a nationwide day of action where developers, government employees, designers, journalists, data scientists, non-profit employees, UX designers, and residents who care about their communities come together to host civic tech events leveraging their skills to help their community.

On that Saturday, our members are working on the following projects:

  1. State budget visualizations
  2. UIPA records request
  3. Makerspace finder
  4. Bike sharing with BikeShare Hawaii

In addition, there will be other civic activities / projects / challenges available to work on.  These challenges are related to getting a better idea of what digital government services are like and how they differ across the country. After National Day, our parent organization, Code for America will package everything together into a single document that tells the story of digital government services in America.

This year, our event is being sponsored by the wonderful folks over at HTDC!




Hope to see you there!

Code for Hawaii April Monthly Meetup

Join us Wednesday, April 20th @ 6:30 PM at Box Jelly

Since National Day of Civic Hacking is quickly approaching, we have a very special guest joining us via the Interwebs. Eric Coyle, a Data Dissemination Specialist from the U.S. Census Bureau will be joining us via WebEx to present some of the key concepts and examples of the Census API and City SDK. After, we’ll talk about what we’re envisioning for our National Day of Civic Hacking event on June 4th.

EricCoyleEric Coyle serves as the Data Dissemination Specialist for the U.S. Census Bureau. Mr. Coyle’s primary responsibilities are to plan, coordinate, and implement data dissemination, and outreach. He conducts data access workshops and presentations every month to a variety of organizations, local governments, businesses, media, universities, etc.

Here’s what our tentative agenda looks like:

– 6:30 PM – Welcome
– 6:45 PM – Eric Coyle from U.S. Census Bureau presentation
– 7:15 PM – Project updates
– 7:30 PM – Talk story

*Remember to please RSVP on our Meetup page if you can make it.

See you Wednesday!

Code for Hawaii February Monthly Meetup

Guess what? It’s time for the CfH monthly meetup!

(Yes, we’re excited too 😀 )

Join Code for Hawaii on Wednesday for our February Brigade monthly meeting! We’ll have grub on hand for those who can make it, we’ll hear updates on the organization as well as on civic projects that are in the works ( and!), and get the low-down on next month’s Unconferenz/CodeAcross/Open Data Day event on March 5th at the Blaisdell Exhibition Hall.

Here’s what our tentative agenda looks like:

– 6:30 PM – Welcome (Pizza provided by MeetingSift!)
– 6:45 PM – Project updates
– 7:15 PM – Unconferenz updates / idea generation
– 7:30 PM – Talk story

*Remember to please RSVP on our Meetup page if you can make it.

See you Wednesday!

Code Across 2016 is on March 5th at the Unconferenz!

Save the Date: March 5, 2016

We’re planning to host Code Across 2016 at the Unconferenz on March 5th. Luckily for you, it’ll also be held in conjunction with International Open Data Day!


  • Who: YOU
  • Where: Neal S. Blaisdell Exhibition Hall
  • When: March 5th starting @ 8:00 AM
  • Why: Because you love Civic Technology!
  • $$$: This is a FREE event! Make sure to get your tickets here.

What’s going to happen at Code Across?

It’ll be a day of prototyping solutions to civic issues. We envision Code for Hawaii civic technologists working with government attendees at the Unconferenz to prototype solutions to real government problems. You don’t need to know how to code! Prototyping a solution involves all sorts of skillsets not related to writing software!

If that still isn’t your cup of tea, you can mozy on over and work on Open Data at International Open Data Day where there will be a variety of activities such as learning how to use Git, working on uncovering new datasets, and creating new and exciting visualizations of existing datasets!

Should you come?

Copy of CodeAcross Flowchart 2016

See you there!

2015: Code for Hawaii’s Year in Review

Repost of our 2015: Year in Review newsletter!

Hello, 2016!

First and foremost, we’d like to send a big MAHALO to all of you for volunteering your time in 2015!

Here are some accomplishments we wanted to highlight from last year:

  1. Since becoming an official Code for America Brigade in May 2015, we’ve held 19 meetups.
  2. In those 19 meetups, we’ve had at least 65 of you in attendance!
  3. More importantly, since we started having people checkin, we’ve had over 130 checkins!

Code for Hawaii stats!

We’d like to think that last year we looked internally to build out the structures and foundations of the organization. As a group, we collaborated on a mission statement, came up with a strategic plan, setup a website, email, collaborative spaces, and code repositories.

We met with select members of government including our partner, Nicole Velasco, the Executive Director from the Office of Economic Development,  Honolulu’s Public Information Officers, and Mark Wong, Director and CIO for the City. Along the way, we hosted National Day of Civic Hacking and attended the 2015 Code for America Summit in Oakland.

So where does that leave us for 2016?

2016 is the year we branch out externally and seriously look for collaborative engagements with government. Here are a few projects being worked on at the moment:

  1. RedeemHi5George Lee, organizer of the largest local Javascript User Group, and McKay Davis are working with Michael Casey from the Department of Health to help Hawaii residents locate recycling centers.
  2. MakerspaceRussell Vea and Nicole Hori are working with Stacie Kanno from the Hawaii State Library on a map-based, mobile-friendly application to locate all the wonderful Makerspaces in Hawaii. I hear that HICapacity is pretty good.
  3. UIPARyan Kanno, Russ Tokuyama, Sara Sakamoto, and McKay Davis are working to stand up a Freedom of Information Portal for Hawaii to help provide transparency to the FOI process.
  4. Patternlab Jon Geyer is helping standardize the look and feel for Code for Hawaii. He’s asked that we please give him feedback! If you don’t know what a Patternlab is, you should definitely check it out.

Please make sure to sign up for our newsletter and come down to our next Project Night to check us out!

We look forward to serving you in 2016!


Code for Hawaii Core Team

Code for Hawaii December Monthly Meetup

Wednesday, December 16th, 6:30 PM at Box Jelly

Hack Night

Join Code for Hawaii on Wednesday for our December Brigade Meetup! We’ll have some grub on hand for those who can make it, we’ll hear some jolly seasonal updates on civic projects being spun up.

Here’s what our tentative agenda looks like:

– 6:30 PM – Welcome
– 6:45 PM – Project updates
– 7:15 PM – Talk story

Remember, please RSVP on our Meetup page if you can make it.

See you on Wednesday! And if we don’t see you then, Happy Holidays!