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In one weekend, these developers created apps using hacking for a better Milwaukee

hackathon coding

88Nine Labs, in partnership with the ACLU of Wisconsin, hosted a civic hackathon on November 3-4 at Ward4 prior to the Midterm Elections. The goal of this hackathon was to develop ideas using technology and open data to create solutions to better inform and educate local citizens about their city, state and national government.

The goal of this event was to bring together a group of diverse people with skills in coding, graphic design, storytelling and visual data analysis to create tools that will promote civic education, transparency and accountability in government. Here are the apps that came out of that event.

The group


We had the participation of six dedicated and diverse teams for this weekend of hacking. Though not all of the teams have made their projects publicly available, here are the apps from the three groups who have.

The projects

Civic Feedback Portal

Created by: Matthew Schubring, Benjamin Nguyen and ApeFe

Inspired by the ACLU's objective: to create a tool to inform people of their rights when stopped by the police and make it more simple for them to file a complaint with the Milwaukee Fire & Police Commission.
The Civic Feedback Portal serves as a central location for submitting feedback to any government site.

The group created an interface that would collect the information needed for the Milwaukee Fire & Police Commission online form while also prompting additional questions to help the citizen form an effective testimonial. This form will also provide additional data points to create analytics. For example, to follow the status of the form etc.
Community Corkboard

Created by: Jacob Mischka

He was inspired to create this app by his sister who is an active volunteer after she suggested that there are a lot of people who want to exercise their opportunity to vote, but have a hard time finding smaller, local elections.

Community Corkboard allows users to add opportunities to the board, and others can view opportunities that are in their area.

Next, he would like to add notifications using service workers, to notify you when there's something coming up in your area, special fields for voting opportunities, volunteer opportunities, etc., a more robust panel for organizers to create opportunity posts and to manage the posts they added as well as a new UI.

Created by: Marco CastroJoseph Peters and Brendan Pettis
Exposed is a complaint tracker that visualizes complaints against the police and fire departments.

The ACLU Challenge inspired this project. However, instead of the main challenge, they chose to address the problem behind the problem. That problem being the fact that when complaints are submitted against the police/fire departments, those complaints fall into a black hole with no guarantee of a follow up. Exposed aims to address the issue by making the complaints and their status publicly available, hopefully creating a little more pressure and accountability to those departments. By visualizing the data, it also becomes easier to spot trends and repeat offenders. The group says that they'd like to make the app a little more modular, requiring the loving touch of a designer, but if a third party application is successfully created that can feed Exposed the data it needs, Exposed can go live.

For more information about upcoming 88Nine Labs events, click here.

Director of Digital | Radio Milwaukee