11 Project Ideas Pitched at Code for Raleigh

The ideas were flowing on Tuesday night, December 2, 2014 at the monthly Code for Raleigh Brigade meet-up. We had a great group of folks from City of Raleigh staff, Wake County staff, developers, citizen hackers, and a few new people ready to improve our government through technology. Our meet-up was held at the NC Innovation Center and by the end of the night, we had 11 projects ideas whittled down to a select few to begin working on for 2015.

New tools, infrastructure, and direction for Code for Raleigh

After a few house keeping items, we talked about how the Code for Raleigh Brigade is moving forward to be more project-focused for 2015. In order for a project to be get started, it needs to have a project owner / leader. That person doesn't need to be a coder, but more of a project manager or project coordinator. For future meet-ups, a brief scrum-like summary will be given during the demo night to say what the project is, what's being worked on tonight, and what the needs are for the project. After that, attendees will break out into teams to work on projects for the rest of the night.

Taking a quick step back to the tools. Our brigade has decided to use the Discourse forum for project discussion and other topics to help reduce our email. You'll notice that the forum is under the "Code for NC" umbrella. This allows us to connect with other brigades across the state, Asheville, Cary, Charlotte, Durham, and other future civic hackers. Wilmington anyone? We need some love from the Eastern part of the state. Note: The category/tagging system lets you opt into topics that are you interested in.

Over at codeforraleigh.com, we're using Laddr for high level project updates and to translate project needs to non-coders. We're also using it as a check-in system for our brigade meet-ups as well as a storytelling platform to share our progress.

On the more technical side, we are using GitHub and Waffl.io for project management:

We had a brief demo of Waffle.io and an overview of how we plan to use the agile methodology to make incremental progress on our projects and give a proper scrum update for future meet-ups.

Code for Raleigh project idea board - December 2, 2014
Code for Raleigh project idea board - December 2, 2014

11 Project Ideas to Improve our Government

We decided that there are three different kinds of projects we could work on:

  1. Green field projects - New ideas, little to no existing code, brand new projects
  2. Cloned projects - An open source project exists, most likely from Code for America or another Code for America Brigade that we would "clone" (copy) and implement for our city, region, or state
  3. Augmented projects - Vetted and supported projects that are currently being worked on by the city, county, or state that our brigade could support and/or accelerate development activity, user feedback, adoption, testing, etc.

A total of 11 projects where pitched during our December 2, 2014 meet-up at the NC Innovation Center. Here are the ideas and a high level overview of what the project would do. Note, many of these projects are in the incubation stage and we encourage you to find the project on codeforraleigh.com or the Discourse forum to get involved. (Some may not be there yet, so check back often. This is a new process for us.)

  • Hospitality (Augmented) | Jim Alberque (City of Raleigh) - Noise complaint app to help with the Glenwood South Hospitality District that allows citizens to log noise complaints and/or directly connect with businesses
  • Represent Map (Augmented) | Jim Alberque (City of Raleigh) - A map that showcases the start-up scene in Raleigh in partnership with the economic development team at Raleigh (aka Derrick Minor and James Sauls)
  • Real-time transit data (Green --> Augmented) Jim Alberque (City of Raleigh) - Looking at using Transloc app to show real-time transit details for GoTriangle via a request from David Eatman
  • Stone Soup (Green) | Carter Vickery (Wake County) - Looks to continue the efforts from the NC Datapalooza project/idea that acts as a food resource management and connector
  • To the Trails App (Clone) | Carter Vickery (Wake County) - Is a Code for America app that was prototyped at CityCamp NC 2014 and needs some trail head data to match the current standard data set
  • NC Free Wheeling (Green with data from NC) | Chad Foley (Brigade Captain / City of Raleigh) - Looks to continue the work from CityCamp NC 2014 on this project that highlights safe bike routes across NC
  • Where's my school bus? (Clone) | Jason Hibbets (Brigade Captain) - Is an app that helps parents see where their childs' school bus is during pick-up and drop-off
  • Flu shot finder (Clone) | Reid Serozi (Brigade Captain) - Is an app that we already have deployed, but has limited data sets
  • Code Acorn (Green) | Reid Serozi ((Brigade Captain) - Is a new idea that would let us use phone gap for future projects
  • NC Connect (Green) | Chris Matthews (Wake County) - Is a working prototype that connects citizens to the available services listed in the database

The attendees then voted on the projects they were interested in and which ones we thought we could accomplish. We also determined which projects could be quick wins, which ones were medium-term projects, and ones that were longer-term. We also combined similar project ideas. During the discussion an observation was made that many of these projects have similar components that could be built out as common resource, modules if you will, for all projects.

Top five projects (to start on)

  • Flu shot finder (Reid) - This is a quick win for our brigade as we already have the app deployed and need to get some more robust data beyond Raleigh to make it more useful. See the app at: flushots.codefornc.org
  • Stone Soup + NC Connects (Carter & Chris) - We combined these two similar projects because we think there is some synergy here. Chris showed us a working demo but I didn't grab the URL. Join the discussion.
  • Real-time transit data (Jim) - There was a lot of interest in this transit app and has the potential to be a regional project that both the Cary and Durham brigades could contribute to.
  • To the Trails App + NC FreeWheeling (Carter & Chad) - Both of these projects had some momentum at CityCamp NC 2014 and we'd like to get these on track and ready for the Spring season when the weather gets nicer. This also has the potential to be a regional project, but we'll start with Raleigh and Wake County and use the data from the State that we already have.
  • Where's my school bus? (Jason) - This is a longer-term project that will take some upfront planning and stakeholder buy-in, but we've think this will solve a nagging problem for school parents. Join the discussion.

Those are the leading project ideas. If you'd like to get involved, join us at our next meet-up on January 6, 2015.

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