Refresh Baltimore

A Tale of Two Hackers

Chris Whong & Shea Frederick

Ever wonder what civic hacking is all about?  We’re partnering with Hack Baltimore in hopes of inspiring others to get their feet wet / dive into civic hacking even further.  We present to you Chris and Shea, two civic hacking and open data enthusiasts improving their communities through technology.  

In Baltimore, civic hackers are working to open the city's legal code. They are helping the homeless access temporary housing, finding new life for the city’s vacant properties, reminding citizens to report for necessary medical tests, and tackling a myriad of other issues.  

This talk will help explain the world of the civic hacker and how they combine web development, programming, open data munging, scraping, open source tools, and community activism to do it successfully. They’ll provide examples of apps, maps, and visualizations that add value to public open datasets and help give insight into civic issues such as housing, taxes, and transportation.  Chris and Shea will show us where all the pieces come from, why civic hacking is useful, and what we can do with it. Most importantly, they'll motivate and enhance our skill set in hopes of increasing collective efforts to make change, build business, and improve Baltimore together.

Like this month's icon?  MICA Graphic Design student, Kevin Zweerink designed it.  His interpretation: It's a representation of the type of data analysis that civic hacking engages; finding connections and solutions by threading together different layered datasets that represent a city.

Photo of Chris Whong

Chris Whong

Mr. Whong is a self-described urbanist, mapmaker, and data junkie with a specific interest in data visualization and civic technology projects.  His visualizations have been featured by leading technology sites including Fast Company and Popular Science.  As a DSA, Chris assists new clients in overcoming the technical hurdles of opening their data, and helps build customized solutions around the Socrata platform.  Chris is also an active participant in the New York City civic technology community, and is a captain in Code for America’s Brigade Program.

Photo of Shea Frederick

Shea Frederick

Shea has spent the majority of his career in web development and first began developing web applications for Tower Records combining the call center interface with inventory and fulfillment.  Since then, he has worked as a developer for several companies- building and implementing various commerce solutions, content management systems, and lead tracking programs.  Integrating new technologies to make better applications has been a driving point for Shea's work.  He strives to use open source libraries as they are often the launching pad for most creative technological advances.