the kdmcinfo weblog

KDMC Wins DataSF Hack-a-Thon

KDMC was recently invited to participate in the California Data Camp and DataSF App Contest hosted by California Watch and The unconference featured open discussions related to making use of publicly available data sets to improve quality of life. The App Contest challenged developers to choose one of the many data sets available at and build something cool with it in a relatively short period of time. Here’s a showcase of existing apps built on those data sets.

KDMC webmaster Scot Hacker and J-School webmaster Chuck Harris took part, choosing to work with a database of 64,000 San Francisco trees and plants. The goal of the project was to:

  • Make it easy for citizens to explore and discover the huge number of plant species and individual trees maintained by the city
  • Make it easy for citizens to “flag” a tree as needing maintenance, water, food, etc.
  • Make it easy for citizens to request a tree at a particular location
  • Provide data visualization tools to let citizens explore and understand the plant variety visually
  • Make it easy to see what a given species will look like in 5,10,15,20 years when requesting a tree
  • Ideally, a future version of the app would include ecology data on all species, listing the water consumption and carbon offset of each

At the end of the day Hacker and Harris won 1st prize in the competition. Their app, named django-treedata, was released as open source software the next day. More information, screenshots, and a download link are available at Scot Hacker's Scripts and Utilities. Full coverage of the Data Camp is available on the blog.

Video coverage of the event by Jenny Chu, J-School alum: SF DataCamp (2009) for California Watch: