Code Across Grand Rapids


Bringing citizen engagement into the 21st Century

February 21-22, 2014 — Grand Rapids, Michigan

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Open data

Exploring open data in our city

We’ll imagine the possibilities of open data in Grand Rapids. Friendly Code and the City of Grand Rapids will announce the launch of Grand Rapids Open Data, a city-supported community-powered data portal.

Rapidian collaboration

Calling dedicated Rapidians

If you’re a citizen, community leader, government official, coder, designer, planner or friend of Grand Rapids, we need your voice. We'll be envisioning the future of citizen engagement and building the tools to get there.

National participation

Code Across and Open Data Day

A national weekend of civic innovation. Code Across Grand Rapids is just one of a number of events taking place around the world, gathering citizens who are passionate about technology and their communities. Check out all of the Code Across and Open Data Day events going on around the world.

Two days of civic hacking and collaboration

Event Schedule

Friday, February 21, 2014


6PM - 9PM

We'll give a survey of civic hacking across the country, introduce the project team leads, then let you mingle and get started on building a better Grand Rapids!

Saturday, February 22, 2014


9AM - 5PM

We'll provide space, internet, and whiteboards for you to work with your teams throughout the day. This is the time to dig deeply into the project to which you want to contribute.

  • 9am - Doors open. Breakfast provided. (It'll be really good.)
  • 9am – 4pm. Join a project team or start your own. Write, code, plan, and build.
  • 1pm - Lunch provided. (It'll also be really good.)
  • 4pm - Project Wrap-ups. Hear from the project teams and plan next steps. This is only the beginning. Join us at our next Friendly Code meetup.
  • Location

    Downtown Grand Rapids Inc.
    29 Pearl NW
    Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503


    BYO laptops, ideas, and collaborative spirit. Refreshments & snacks will be provided throughout Saturday.
    Paper, post-its, whiteboards, markers, powerstrips, projector, and WiFi will also be available for use.

    As with any internet-heavy event, public bandwidth can be a limitation. If you have a phone or device that can tether, please bring it!
    It'll take pressure off our internet connection and help everyone have a better experience. Thank you!



    Chase Lee

    A hyperlocal civic notification app. Forget your when your trash gets picked up? Have it remind you. Want to know where your polling place is? Forget your precinct and ward? It can remind you of that too.

    Needs: a designer, python & angular developers.

    Viget Writathon


    Viget is a wiki for the city of Grand Rapids. It's a place for local history and local storytelling. Relaunched on the LocalWiki platform a year and half ago, it could use some more attention. Any citizen can contribute. Writer? Designer? Organizer? Help document your city.

    Needs: writers and community organizers.



    OpenStreetMap is like Wikipedia for maps. It's a community powered mapping platform that provides a free alternative to Google Maps. All you need to edit OpenStreetMap is a browser.

    Needs: anyone interested in maps


    Jace Browning

    VoteAlign introduces you to the political team that represents you at the federal, state, and local level. User-created summaries of upcoming bills help you stay informed. Stay involved by indicating how you would vote. Get notified when the final vote occurs to compare your representatives to you.

    Needs: python and front-end developers.

    311 Data Analysis

    Traci Montgomery

    Grand Rapids' 311 department handles calls from Grand Rapidians about all sorts of issues. By mapping calls about missed trash and recycling pickups, for example, the city was able to determine what streets needed clearing these past few weeks. By giving a glimpse into what is and isn't working in the city, 311 data can provide clues to how we might make citizens happier and government better.

    Needs: data nerds and amateur demographers


    Dave Brondsema

    To build digital maps, a developer needs more than some GIS shapefiles. This team will be spinning up a community powered instance of GeoServer, the open-source mapping server. This will let us make maps with both city and community data.

    Needs: ops and back-end developers.

    Ohana API


    The Ohana API aims to provide a read/write database of community organizations & services. It's an open source project that attempts to standardize human services data in a community and act as a centralized searchable database for that data. A team with an interest in social work could spin up an instance of Ohana and begin filling it with data.

    Needs: rails developers and community organizers

    Parking Data Analysis


    As Grand Rapids develops, densifies, and becomes even more of a destination, parking has become, not only an asset management problem, but a political one. Dig into the parking data to get an idea of what the true usage of our parking infrastracture is.

    Needs: data geeks, front-end developers, and parking gurus.

    Grand Rapids Open Data

    Lee Mueller

    Code Across may be the public launch of the portal, but there's definitely more to do! Help wrangle data and catalog it and build a great resource for open government in Grand Rapids.

    Needs: citizens and advocates.



    Adopt-a-Hydrant is an app that maps the locations of fire hydrants so volunteers can find and dig them out during snow storms. Storms often hide fire hydrants under piles of snow making them impossible to find quickly. Once they are found, fire fighters must spend precious minutes shoveling out hydrants before they can starting putting out the fire. With thousands of fire hydrants, most cities simply don't have the resources to shovel them all out.

    Needs: rails developers and citizens

    Your project?


    Come with your ideas, curiosity and a willingness to learn. There will be experts in programming, data, and government around all weekend. Feel free to ask questions. Take inspiration from projects in other cities or think of a specific local need and start hacking!

    Event Sponsors

    Interested in becoming a sponsor? Contact Us.

    Community Partners

    A Friendly Code project.