Data Visualization Hack Day

This is our first (in hopefully many) data visualization hack days aimed at bringing folks together to hack on data visualization projects, explore ideas, and learn from each other.

Our monthly meetings are great times to share projects and ideas, but this hack day will be focused on building data visualizations together and learning practical skills.

Coffee and other drinks will be provided by Tesserae Talent Strategies.  Lunch will not be provided, but you are able to bring in food if you like.

Projects and datasets?

We have a couple ideas for projects and datasets, but overall, these will be provided by the attendees.

If you have a project or dataset you want to work on, please comment below.

What to bring?

A good attitude and tools to build visualizations.  A laptop is probably the preferred tool, but as we have seen in our meetings, there are plenty of ways of making data visualizations with physical materials, like paper and yarn.  If you can't bring a laptop to the event, let us know and we will do our best to find one for you.

The U of M guest wireless network has been known to be both awesome and frustrating, so if you have a device that utilizes other networks for internet access, it would be helpful to bring that along.


The Hack Day will be at the Humphrey Institute on the U of M campus.  The address is 301 19th Ave S, Minneapolis, MN.  The room is downstairs in the back of the Computer Lab in Room 50.

Here is a map to the building and some places to park:

In addition to the ramp parking on the link above, there is some free short-term parking back in the surrounding neighborhoods, and a surface lot behind the Red Sea and Keefer Court restaurants (daylong parking for $7).

Bike parking is just south of the building, and Routes 2, 7 and 22 run nearby, as well as all of the University Ave busses (16, 50, 3, etc.).

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  • Kristen M.

    Hi Hack Day participants,
    At our event, I briefly mentioned a civic tech opportunity: CURA:Tech. The project/award opportunity has launched now, and more info is at

    We're having informal info sessions/mixers next week: Tuesday 2/4 (8:30-10 am in St. Paul) and Wed 2/5 (5-7 pm in Minneapolis). More info on the "Participate" part of the website.

    I hope you'll be interested in participating! Drop me a line if you have questions or want to learn more -- I'm always happy to chat!

    January 29, 2014

  • Ashley B.

    In keeping with the education theme, I made a CSV file of MN Gophers vs IA Hawkeyes game results from 1935 to present! (Taken from Wikipedia here:, with a couple of derived variables). I am interested in learning to use Google Charts ( to publish data visualizations to a website. To practice I plan to publish to tumblr (my Tumblr blog for this It's free to create a Tumblr blog so anyone else is welcome to set one up and share their Data Viz's!

    I use R, but have never used LaTeX so it would be cool if someone has experience with that and could demonstrate for me. I look forward to meeting everyone.

    November 16, 2013

    • Tom M.

      That looks great! Like the minimalist approach...clean, easy to absorb.

      November 25, 2013

    • Tom M.

      So...I have been using Google Apps for a long time, and I have control over who has access at a very granual level... I also wonder if you have explored Google of the tools available if you have an 'apps' account. I think this might aleviate the dynamic sites problem as well??

      November 25, 2013

  • Carla J.

    Here is the This Cake's For You! blog entry for the cake I brought to the hackathon.

    November 19, 2013

    • Alan P.

      !!! It was delicious. And that is one mouth-watering Tumblr blog.

      November 19, 2013

  • Andrew A.

    Thanks everyone, this event was great! Hope we can do it again. I put the Leaflet + D3 robberies overlay I hacked together up on my site and Github if anyone's interested:

    1 · November 18, 2013

    • Alan P.

      Awesome! Thanks for sharing.

      November 18, 2013

  • James K.

    Tom, thanks for posting. Alan, thanks for organizing. All of the other organizer-people, thanks for what you did. I had a great time.

    November 17, 2013

  • Alan P.

    November 16, 2013

  • David M.

    Unfortunately having to go into work and not sure how long so if able to join it might be late. I'll un RSVP in case anyone needs the spot.

    November 16, 2013

  • Richard Z.

    I have something come up for tomorrow, so I cannot make it. Looking forward to learn from future events.

    November 15, 2013

  • Alan P.

    Hey all. We won't actually be able to get into the room until right at 10, so no need to come early; aim for 10:15, and we'll start at 10:30.

    November 15, 2013

  • Alan P.

    Hey everyone! Tomorrow is the Hack Day! Are you excited yet?!?

    Some logistics. Drinks and some snacks will be provided by Tesserae. Lunch will not be provided. If you can, bring your lunch ahead of time and that way you can just keep working!

    Come with ideas or projects you want to work on, or specific things you want to learn and ideas on how you might learn it. We'll do some basic brainstorming at the beginning, but overall this will be free form and you'll get most out of the day if you come ready to work and participate. We encourage people to work together, but that is not a requirement.

    Please, please, please, please update your RSVP if you are not coming!

    1 · November 15, 2013

  • David S.

    Turns out I can't make it to this one, but I'm very interested in participating in something like this in the future. Hope it happens again.

    November 10, 2013

  • David M.

    Look forward to learning and sharing.

    November 8, 2013

  • Nate

    I am really interested in the cost of university education. The government collects a lot of data about colleges and universities, including sticker price and actual net price charged to students.

    Here's the site for all their statistics going back many years:

    All of the data can be downloaded in zipped up, CSV format text files. It's a bit spotty, since not every school submitted all data every year, but there is a lot of raw data in there. I'd bet some cool visualizations could be made out of it.

    2 · October 21, 2013

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