Hack To The Future – What would Doc and Marty do?

This sponsored post is produced by RadiumOne.

Hackathons are no longer the province of geeks, they are where some of the best and most innovative ideas are hatched during all night collaborative events where developers openly share ideas and build the next cool thing. In fact, Facebook’s now ubiquitous ‘Like” button was developed at one of their hackathon events. Google, Yahoo and many other Silicon Valley companies are famous for inviting developers “hackers” to attend their hackathon events and play with their code and come up with unique ways to create value for their audiences.

Lately city governments have been starting to embrace hackathons. Many large cites such as New York City and San Francisco have Chief Digital Officers or “Innovation Departments that are tasked with making sure the city takes advantage of innovative ways to use data, especially when it can help local governments save money and provide better services for taxpayers.

In San Francisco, the MUNI transit system provides MUNI bus and BART train information to the public in the form of an API and that has resulted in iPhone apps such as Pocket MUNI and Routsey, that tell you when your next bus or train are coming. In other cases hackathons have lead to making it easier to make payments, look up records or even make it easier to navigate city streets. Recently the New York City Government hosted Reinvent NYC.GOV, their first ever hackathon.

This weekend, in San Francisco, over 100 hackers will gather at XHack 2012. An event hosted by RadiumOne and Via.Me. The event is focused on photo, video, audio and social data hacking. Several well known companies are participating and showing up with their APIs, including Tumblr, Via.Me, Aviary, 500px, Heroku, Sincerely and Apptentive.

Even the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Civic Innovation is participating to encourage hacks that use open data from the city and their partners, including The America’s Cup. At the event hackers will have access to open data from The Americas Cup that may enable all sorts of venue information for the upcoming race, to photo, video and geo data streamed from boats as they compete in the legendary race. This is a first for the City of San Francisco and The Americas Cup.

Xhack’s tagline is “hack to the future” a play off the classic 80’s movie Back To The Future. Xhack organizers love the concept of the movie’s character, Doc Brown, hacking in his garage and creating a time machine. A fun challenge for the event is “What would Doc or Marty McFly do?”

Of course, hackers do most of their hacking for fun but they also compete for prizes and Xhack offers cash prizes for the events back hacks and has a prize pool of over $8000 at stake. Plus many of the API partners are sponsoring prizes, such as iPads, and free services, for unique ways to use their APIs and data. Who knows, maybe the city of San Francisco, could offer free parking for a year!

If you’re in San Francisco, this weekend, looking to create some great hacks and have some fun, check out http://www.xhack2012.com. The event kicks off Friday June 8th at 6pm. Hacking starts Saturday morning at 10am and runs thru Sunday afternoon.

If you can’t make it to Xhack, you can follow all the action on Twitter @xhack2012

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