Code Across America Hackathon at the SDSU Visualization Center

Posted on 03/19/2012 by OpenSanDiego

Code Across America Hackathon at the SDSU Visualization Center

Code Across America Hackathon: Open Data San Diego Team Report

On Saturday, March 3rd,  Open San Diego got in on the Code Across America  action.  Dr. Eric Frost graciously offered up his Visualization Center at San Diego State University for our workspace and we made good use of its panoramic wall projection capabilities throughout the day.

San Diego’s District Attorney (and current mayoral candidate) Bonnie Dumanis  joined us and made some introductory  remarks about the good she hopes Open Data/Gov can “do for San Diego.”  Fellow hackathoner Dave Maass posted a video and further details about Dumanis’ participation in an SD CityBeat blog post.

We elected to build upon the code for Art Around, from,  and the Open Data Catalog from  We divided ourselves into two teams to get started.  I was on the Open Data SD team,  so this rest of this post only covers that portion the day’s activity.

We began by evaluating the tool as deployed by  In addition to noting the need for some cosmetic customization,  we decided to alter the interface so that there would be fewer steps between identifying/selecting a data set and actually using that set.   That choice was made out of appreciation for the interface of Open San Diego’s current Flashlght resource (set up and maintained by Dave). The Open Data Catalog (ODC) and Flashlight have the same objective, and we already know that San Diegans have found Flashlight useful, so taking it as a starting point is an obvious choice. It also makes sense to begin by propagating our Open Data Catalog installation with all the information currently contained in Flashlight.

Our team spent the rest of our time together working out a “next steps” list and hashing out the the best ways to go about completing those tasks. Here’s the list:

  • Work out a way to export the notes and links data from Flashlight (powered by a tag collection on) into a spreadsheet using the Delicious API.
  • Recruit help by giving a presentation to SDSU’s Society of Professional Journalists student group.
  • Work with that student group to complete and update all of the current Flashlight content.
  • Use the updated spreadsheet to populate the ODC installation.
  • Complete the cosmetic design changes to the ODC interface.
  • Port the web app to iOS and Android.


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