This post is written by Willow Brugh at Geeks Without Bounds
When you're involved with humanitarian response and hacking, you see the worst and best of humanity on a pretty regular basis. Technology and intense situations have the ability to pull out the most extreme aspects of human nature. That means most mornings I wake up to Carl Sagan and Neil deGrasse Tyson talking about the wonder of space. Space exploration is one of the few things that has been able to unite and inspire people that isn't the Us-Vs-Them of conflict.
I also participate heavily in OpenGov, in hackathons, in maker spaces, in unconferences. I love what it is starting to mean to be a "responsible citizen," the active role that makers and techies (and techie makers) have decided to take in their world. And I love how well established systems are making an earnest effort to meet these citizens. The output of data and products which were essentially crowd funded through taxes are now also available to us. It's a democratization of participation and knowledge, not just the research and funding. What used to be too cumbersome to share and shape is now easily offered to engaged citizens. We are not just dreaming again, we are also making.
So when Chris and Nick mentioned the Open Data portion of NASA was pushing to do a apps challenge, my tiny robot heart nearly exploded in joy. ALL THE THINGS I LOVE. Together. In a little coding and prototyping heaven. Full of stars and amazing people. Geeks Without Bounds jumped at the opportunity to be the local lead in San Francisco.
What we're up to
Yesterday I had the best logic problem ever. Given the 7 locations with heaviest registration, how can each city link to every other city at least once? We want people to see the problems and process of the other locations, and to fully connect with this worldwide event. But each location also needs to focus on what they are working on, without too much distraction. And it was a WAY better logic problem than those ones they give you for standardized tests or those pesky LSATs. I even made a color-coded spreadsheet. My geek, it shows vibrantly.
Geeks Without Bounds, the local coordinator (and awesome accelerator for humanitarian projects), has also put in a few specific problem definitions. The San Francisco event is being hosted by TechShop (thanks!), and so we have access to some pretty incredible equipment.
We've also posted these challenges
What we're still looking for.
We still have some space for awesome folk to come and participate, tho we're getting full quickly. We have a lot of our arrangements in place to make the weekend awesome but could still use some help. For more information about what we have going check out the International Space Apps Challenge blog posts at gwob.org or hit me up at willow at gwob dot org.