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MDI: Intro to Civic Hacking

Combining forces with Milwaukee Tech Engine and Python MKE, MDI is proud to present our first class: Intro to Civic Hacking. This will be an intro to civic hacking (the legal kind) with Python, led by our own @version2beta! This is for the novice or beginner coder, and for novice to intermediate civic hackers.

We'll work in pairs, so bring a computer or a partner with a computer. Linux, Mac, and Windows are all supported. If you'd like to get a head start on the installation, go to and

Some programs are never meant to be written. Often we just have a bunch of data that we need to crunch or parse or munge or just understand better. Python, and the iPython Notebook give us some excellent tools for exploring a problem domain from the inside out, using a powerful scripting language that's still considered 'the easiest programming language to learn'. In this presentation, we'll work hands-on with iPython and the Pandas data analysis library to explore some 'big data' and see what kind of answers we can tease out of it.

About Rob Martin (version2beta)
"Rob Martin wrote his first professional program in 1982, at age 13. He charged $30. Over the next year, that program saved the company over $3 million dollars. Rob Martin now thinks he may have underbid that project.
"30+ years later, Rob's written many more programs for industry and web. He underbid a lot of those too, but he had some fun along the way.

These meetups are a chance to showcase how people and organizations are using and producing data in interesting or innovative ways. Let us know if you want to host a meetup!

Anyone can attend (designers, front-end developers, back-end developers, mobile developers, idea folks, social media people). We'll pick places with beer and food generally, and definitely places with WiFi.

Join or login to comment.

  • version2beta

    Eeek, sorry I'm late to comment. Matt's links will all work to get you going, but you can just install Anaconda ( and it'll get you everything but Git. Total data analysis including our target iPython and Pandas. I'll have some thumb drives with the installers tonight too.

    June 6, 2013

    • Matt R.

      Rob mentioned learn python the hard way, which is a book I have done some entry level learning on or there may be courses on coursera.

      June 10, 2013

    • version2beta

      Sorry I'm slow. Besides learn python the hard way and codecadamy, there's but I think they're getting started.

      June 11, 2013

  • Matt R.

    Since we were talking about water usage last night, here's an interesting article on BizTimes about a local brewer trying to reduce water use.

    June 7, 2013

  • Courtenay

    So wish I could come, but I just came down with the flu :-(

    June 6, 2013

  • Matt R.


    iPython Notebook -

    pandas -

    GIT -
    If you're going to code, best to learn about GIT. Go to the link, sign up (it's free) and download the client. DATA RESOURCES
    MKE Data Initiative site - CSVs, APIs -

    MKE Data Initiative GIT Repositories - http://github/com/milwaukeedata

    I'll try to add more repositories tomorrow. If you've got something interesting, post it on GitHub!

    See some of you tomorrow!

    June 5, 2013

  • Matt R.

    BIG THANKS to our friends at Milwaukee Tech Engine who've partnered with us to collectively promote this event and help bring beer! MiKE got on board and is sponsoring the pizza! We've also reached out to MKE Python to see if they want to hang out as well. We've partnered with MKE Tech Engine (who in turn connected us to MiKE) and also put out the word to MKE Python.

    June 5, 2013

  • Matt R.

    More than 30 RSVPs!

    What to expect: We are going to allow people to work and learn in pairs. You'll be able to cruise ahead or take it slow, so you can learn at your own pace. What we hope will happen: We hope you'll be able to load data into pandas, combine it with other data, produce that combined data into a portable format and map, graph or visualize it with some open source tools.

    June 5, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Got a family engagement.

    June 4, 2013

  • Lamont S.

    I may not be able to stay the entire session but I plan to attend.

    June 4, 2013

  • Phil V.

    Dangit! I will be out of the state on this date. Sounds very interesting!

    May 31, 2013

  • John G.

    Oh, man... you had me until "work in pairs", Rob! I'm too socially inept for that ;)

    Interesting topic, no question. Hoping to make it if I can.

    May 1, 2013

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