The Houston Writeathon is coming soon! On February 22, a bunch of writers, designers, and data nerds are coming together to improve public sector communication. You can RSVP here (it”s free). This post should give you a little more information about the format of the event, and projects you can work on.
Unlike a typical hackathon, the Houston Writeathon is only going to last about 6 hours. So it”s especially important to come to the event with a project in mind. Luckily, we”ve got projects to spare (see below).
The doors swing open at 10 a.m. Come in, grab a notebook, and get settled. At 10:30 a.m., we”ll have a few introductory words, then we”ll get to work. Â If you get hungry, stroll across the courtyard to Eatsie Boys and let “em know you”re a writeathon participant (and take 15% off).
If you”re intoÂ data visualizations or infographics, here are some tools that you can use:
- City of Houston Open Data Portal
- Many EyesÂ (web-based data visualization; requires Java)
- Google Charts
- Tableau Public
- Infographic Templates from Graphic River ($)
- RSS Voyage (visualize RSS feeds)
You can work your own ideas, or you can pick from this growing list of sample projects:
- Visualize the procurement process with an infographic. Â This is the best thing we have right now. Â And don”t forget about the Hire Houston First program!
- Visualize the variety of City of Houston social media channels, and what they talk about.
- Conduct an open data inventory by correlating the datasets on the open data portal with this census.
- Tackle the dreaded parking sign and make it easier to understand.
- Offer feedback on the Department of Neighborhoods new website (available here).
- Visualize key data from the City of Houston”s recently “released” audit letters from the Controller”s office. Â Backstory here.
- Translate the Health Pets, Healthy Streets initiative into a marketing campaign.
- *If you just can”t stop coding …Â *contribute a Texas state parser casino online to the newÂ OpenRFPs project.
- Redesign the Graduation Game Plan Toolkit from the Department of Neighborhoods. Â More infoÂ hereÂ and here.
- Rewrite Hire Houston First for an audience of small businesses who do not currently do business with the City.
- Visualize how to obtain a library card and the benefits you enjoy.
- Pull together all of the resources for relocating to Houston and map out a website.
- Create some quick and dirty maps using BatchGeo. Â Maps you can tackle are: dog parks, hiking trails, fitness centers, tennis courts, golf courses, bikeway trails, skate parks, community centers, and urban gardens, among others.
- Translate the City of Houston”s transportation ordinances into plain language, and explain what it means for competitors like Uber and Lyft.
- Translate the minimum lot ordinanceÂ to show how residential neighborhoods can mobilize and protect the character of their streets.
- Provide a summary of dense research papers like this.
- Work with issue advocates to draft online petitions using the Change.org platform.
- Describe a light rail stop and the attractions surrounding it.
- Work with board members of the Houston Center for Literacy drafting their new strategic plan.
- Develop a new marketing campaign around the City”s 311 app, using the built-in rewards system to drive community engagement.
- Translate one or more City ordinances into plainspeak.
- Create an infographic for special event designations and filing deadlines.
- Provide written use cases and/or visualizations of all the things you can do with My City Maps & Apps.
- Create a written or visual document that shows all of the ways you can get to and from Houston”s airports.
- Create a what you can do to help marketing flyer, designed to the specs of a water bill insert.
- Set up a website of Houston facts and tag them with key pieces of information.
- Better written and visual information about how Houston residents can enroll in a health insurance plan.
- Come up with a marketing campaign for soliciting and incorporating website feedback for the City of Houston. Â (It has to be better than this!)
- Help communicate the One Bin For All vision, either through writing or visuals.
- Write an editorial tackling something you find in the recent Performance Insights report from the Finance Department. Â We”ll publish here!
We will keep adding to this list as the event approaches, so be sure to check back.