Creating open data about Australia’s local councillors: Our Outreachy Internship 2017

Presented by Hisayo Horie, Luke Bacon
Wednesday 3:50 p.m.–4:35 p.m. in Collaborative Lecture Theatre CB11.00.405
Target audience: Community


This is the story of the first Outreachy Internship to work on an Australian Free Software project. Outreachy Internships are a way for newcomers from underrepresented backgrounds to get experience contributing to free and open source software projects by doing paid, full-time work. The attendees of LCA 2017 raised over $20,000 to fund Outreachy Internships, and this was the first one! In 2016 the OpenAustralia Foundation built a system for you to have an open exchange with your local councillors about planning applications in your area. As usual, there's no useful, comprehensive open data about local councillors that can be used to run a system like this—so we created it. But there's too many councils for the OpenAustralia Foundation’s tiny team to maintain this data. This is a common problem for civic tech projects around the world. In their Outreachy internship, Hisayo Horie build a tool for people all over Australia to keep the records for their local area up-to-date and contribute it as open data. This means the system the OpenAustralia Foundation built can actually get used, and the data can come from the people who actually use it. Hear from Hisayo and Luke Bacon (OAF) about the Outreachy experience and their process of collaborating on civic technology across time-zones.

Presented by

Hisayo Horie

Hisayo is a web developer, art-based educator and facilitator based in Toronto, Canada. Their interests are arts, storytelling, social justice, somatics, code, civic tech, trans and queer politics, making technology accessible, diversifying data, anti-racism, community building, cooking and cats.

Luke Bacon

Luke Bacon works on Free and Open Source Software to make things easier for people working towards more just, equal, and cooperative societies. Luke’s a janitor at frontyard projects, and was previously a civic-hacker at the OpenAustralia Foundation and a co‑founder of Detention Logs.