Tabs on Tallahassee Hackathon

This is a past event

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Let's write code to make the Florida Legislature more transparent. Where? At the Orlando Sentinel/Code for Orlando hackathon.

It will take place Saturday, Jan. 16, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Canvs (101 S. Garland Ave., Suite 108). This includes time for a morning pitch session and lunch (provided by the Sentinel), as well as presentations and judging. (See a more detailed agenda below.)

In early 2015, the Sentinel received a Knight Foundation Prototype Fund grant to develop the Tabs on Tallahassee API. This API returns all kinds of information about the Florida House and Senate, including: legislator voting history, bill lists by location affected, bill lists by topic, bill lists by search query, bill progress and legislator biographies. The API also ties legislators to their relevant geographic areas.

Now, it's time to open up this information to Central Florida developers to see what kind of civic tools we can build. This should be the perfect time to do this as the 2016 session starts Jan. 12. The official prompt is:

Using the Tabs on Tallahassee API, build a digital tool that makes data from the Florida House and/or Senate easier to access and that will help everyday citizens find legislation that matters to them.

The two D.C.-based developers who built the API, James Turk and Erin Braswell, will be flying in to participate in the event. We'll have a panel of judges on hand to select a winning team and award them a prize. A $1000 prize will be awarded to the winning team.

Please arrive with an idea of what you'd like to build. Arriving with teams formed would also be ideal, but there will be roughly 30 minutes in the morning to recruit teammates after learning what everyone's strengths are. After the teams are set, we will give an API key to each group. Please register your team here. (

Here's documentation on what the API returns. If you're interested in actually querying the API before the hackathon, you can get an API key and access to a test console by registering on (

The confirmed judges are:

• Danny Sanchez, audience development manager for Orlando Sentinel and South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

• Carlos Carbonell, CEO of Echo Interaction Group (

• Susanna Miller, Campus Director of Iron Yard

• Cass Hensley, Lead Experience Designer for IDEAS


8:45-9 Breakfast thanks to Wawa!

Welcoming remarks from Orlando Sentinel and Code for Orlando

Pitch session to get the creative juices flowing

Code, code, code

Lunch thanks to Jersey Mikes!

Code, code, code

Presentations (no longer than five minutes per team)

All competitors must be present, no remote team mates will be allowed.