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Page last updated on September 6, 2021 at 12:00 pm

Let’s Get Visual! Bloomington Civic Data Challenge 1.0

You play an essential role in defining our civic future. 

That’s why the City of Bloomington is partnering with local Code for America Brigade – BMG Hack – on a city-centered data visualization 4-hour hackathon to reveal insights and opportunities trapped in spreadsheets and reports.  This event is the first of many that will bring together university, college and high school students to collaborate with city leaders, educators, businesses, and nonprofits to explore what our data is saying and determine what action(s) we might take together.


When: Saturday, February 22, 2020 from 1-5pm

Where: City Hall – starting in Council Chambers 401 North Morton Street, Bloomington, IN 47403

What: See agenda below.

Contact: Devta Kidd

To Register: The event is free, but we want to make sure we are prepared with enough room and pizza! Click here to register.



The event will have four main components each lasting 1 hour:


1:00-2:00 Welcome to Data Viz

  • Mini-workshop to present a basic data visualization framework, terms, and tools, and how non-coders and first-time hackers can participate.


2:00-3:00 Your Mission… Should You Choose to Accept It

  • Why we are hosting this event.
  • How the event will proceed.
  • Who are the sponsors and participants.
  • Pitches about each available data sets and formation of working pods.


3:00-4:00 Let’s Get Data Vizzy*

  • Pods work through multiple iterations of visualized data, record insights and questions, and prepare to report out to the full group.

*Free pizza and possibly puppies will be available.


4:00-5:00 The Wrap Up

  • Pod presentations and full group Questions & Answers.
  • Announcements about BMG Hack and future events.



Why are you holding this event?

The two biggest levers for improving people’s lives at scale are technology and government. Code for America put them together. We want to give our community the experience of using civic data to generate insights and questions that could lead to improved city services. We want more people to know about the city’s BClear data portal and how to use it, about the longer-term project-based work that BMG Hack is already involved in, and how people can join BMG Hack.


Who can participate?

Absolutely anyone with a desire to be part of a productive discussion about civic data and insights gleaned from it are welcome to join us!


What will actually happen at the event?

Details are in the agenda above. We’ll start the day with a mini-workshop to get everyone speaking the same language, then form teams and get to work!  At the end of the event, teams will present out their findings and any insights and questions will be forwarded on to appropriate city departments. Some insights and questions may lead to projects that BMG Hack or a group from the event would like to tackle. Project Management support will be available at the event to support any efforts to take action on insights and questions.


What if I’m not a computer developer or coder?

No problem. Insights and questions literally come from absolutely anyone. Each team will have “questioner” and “question the questioner” roles – both of which do not require any tech experience at all.


What if I’ve never been to an event like this before?

Great! Come alone or bring your friends. And fill out the survey at the end so we know what worked and what needs more thought for the next one!


What should I bring?

  • Tech: Each team will have access to a computer with appropriate software to complete the mission, so you don’t have to bring any other tech  unless you want to bring a device for additional internet research.
  • Non-tech: To contribute to the sustainability of the event, if you plan to indulge in the free pizza, feel free to bring your own re-usable plate, cup, napkin, etc.


How can I be a DataViz lead for a pod?

If you are proficient in Data Visualization and want to serve as DataViz Lead for a pod, please click here to register to attend a pre-event meeting on Thursday, February 6, 2020 at 6pm in the Hooker Conference room on the 2nd floor of City Hall. There will be free pizza at this meeting, too!  Please do register so we can be sure there are enough vittles for the herd.


How can I sponsor some part of the event?

Thanks to Aver’s our pizza is covered. Thanks to the City of Bloomington, our water needs are covered. If you have swag related to innovation or tech you would like to provide at the event, please contact the organizer, Devta Kidd at