Chicago Hack Weekend April 2013

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Hackers hacking in London [1]

You're invited to the hack weekend on 26-28 April 2013 in Chicago. If it's anything like the events in London, it'll be a smorgasbord of hard-core development, tutorials and social interaction! Special thanks to Richard for the template and inspiration for this page and event.

Hack Weekend?

An OpenStreetMap "Hack Weekend" is a local event for technical work to improve OpenStreetMap. This may be development of the "core" components, the editors, or any other side projects and pet projects we fancy hacking on. OpenStreetMap has development tasks sprouting from it in all directions. There's work to do in almost any programming language, as well as tasks like documentation, and even some non-technical graphics design and translation tasks.

We mostly take a fairly unstructured free-form format. People turn up and start beavering away on something, or they turn up and see what they can help with. However we can also run more structured workshops if there is demand.


This event is part OSM social event, part technical workshop. The social events are open to the entire OpenStreetMap community.

Social events

The Friday night Meet and Greet and the Saturday night dinner and Mappy Hour are open to the OpenStreetMap community at large. Mappers and users, App developers and curious newcomers, all are welcome to mix and mingle with the Hack Weekend attendees. We'll each have to pick up our own tab, of course.

Technical workshop

Saturday and Sunday at the Hack Weekend are set up for coding, compiling, theming and testing.

The goal is to allow more programmers and developers to feel comfortable contributing code, etc. to the core functions of OpenStreetMap. The Hack Weekend is intended for programmers, developers, documentation writers, designers, UI / UX experts, cartographers, and all those other skills that go into improving OpenStreetMap infrastructure.


"But, I don't contribute code to OpenStreetMap like those core developers. The Hack Weekend isn't for me ..."

It might be perfect for you. You don't contribute code to OSM yet, but do you want to? That's one of the long term goals. Allow you to get yourself comfortable enough to submit code.

A Hack Weekend is not the place to learn how to program, or to learn "what is a renderer?" A Hack Weekend is an ideal place to use your expertise with your favorite technical tools to make an improvement for the OpenStreetMap community.

You should:

  • know which tools you want to use
  • know how to use those tools
  • know which problem(s) you want to solve
  • know how your solution would fit in the OpenStreetMap world
  • bring your programming environment with you
  • be comfortable programming in a room with other programmers

If you have only a few of these items clear now, you should clarify more of them in the weeks leading up to the event. You might ask on the #osm irc if you want help with these questions.


1871 / Merchandise Mart

Merchandise Mart map

The event is hosted by Knight-Mozilla OpenNews, an organization dedicated to helping make journalism thrive on the open web.

Social events


A variety of accommodations are available near the venue.


It's a buffet-style event - come for the parts you want and leave the bits you don't.

Friday 26th April
6:30pm: Pre-hack Socializing at Burger Bar Chicago
Saturday 27th April
9am to 5pm: Coding and chatting at 1871.
6pm until closing: Dinner and Mappy Hour at ?
Sunday 28th April
10am to 5pm: More coding! 1871.

Ideas for themes / targets

Programmer / developer projects

  • A system to guide a business through the process of making sure their details are correct in OSM
    • Search for existing entry and update it
    • Form for opening hours, phone, name, website, business type
    • Doesn't need to interact directly with OSM (volunteers could add pooled information separately)
  • Continuation of the OSM social aspects from the DC hack weekend

Tutorial / panel topics

  • Your suggestion here ...
  • OSM APIs in Just Javascript
  • iD!

Who's coming?

If you plan on attending, put your name and OSM username here. Your early and accurate RSVP helps to control the cost of this event to the organizers!

Name Friday Meet&Greet Saturday Hack Saturday Dinner Saturday Mappy Hour Sunday Hack Interests/What you might want to work on
Ian Dees Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Py/JXAPI, TIGER compare layer
Martijn van Exel (talk) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes MapRoulette, New user messaging
Toby Murray Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ChangesetMD, osmosis, Py/JXAPI
Tom MacWright perhaps Yes Yes Yes Yes GPX, osmlab, iD
Alex Barth perhaps Yes Yes Yes Yes GPX, osmlab, iD
Dennis McClendon Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Chicago details, map design
Serge Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Ian added this row :)
Jay Zwilling Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Learning, POI acquisition and display
Christopher Manning No Yes No No No Learning / Meeting People
Dan Kieckhefer No No maybe maybe No Meet visiting mappers
Nick Doiron No Yes Yes maybe Yes GPX, visualizations
User:Stevevance No Yes maybe No Yes TileMill stuff