In late January, the Lab gave a maps workshop at HackDF, a hackathon promoted by the government of Mexico City. The purpose of the workshop was to show to an audience of journalists, economists, developers and stakeholders how to prepare, build and publish a map on the web, using tools such as QGIS, Mapbox, CartoDB and JEO, a WordPress map publishing platform developed by our Lab.

Building a Map

The workshop began with an analysis of data provided by the HackDF organization. The chosen database came from the city’s health centers, and included the geographic locations of different types of current establishments in Mexico City. With QGIS, we transformed this database, which was in CSV format, into a shapefile (SHP). To make the first map of the workshop, we used TileMill, a Mapbox tool.

Then we demonstrated some of the features of this tool and how to style a map using CartoCSS, a language similar to CSS which allows visual representations of map elements based on their properties. The database contained the field ‘type of health center’, which could be a hospital, care center, medical facility, 0r clinic, among others. After making their maps, the participants uploaded their maps in MBTiles format to Mapbox. When the map file was ready for viewing, each participant created a test on JEO community, a generator of sub-sites offering the WordPress theme. The result was this:

A simple map, considering the potential of the tools we used, but it helped everyone learn the basic concepts of creating their own online map projects.

Mapping Street Food

The HackDF also had an urbanism workshop, taught by Spanish architect and chef Daniel Fernández Pascual. In his workshop, participants gathered data about food trucks and booths on streets of the neighborhood where the hackathon was going on. Following the same procedure used in the mapping workshop, participants prepared the data and created a display in CartoDB, the result of which can be seen here:
The Hackathon

The workshops took place in parallel to the hackathon, a programming competition that attracted more than 300 participants. This was probably the biggest hackathon ever in Latin America and had interesting results. The winning projects addressed topics such as public safety, administrative efficiency, nutrition and health. Meet the winners:

1st Place: Ayoui
Ayoui means ‘Easy’ in Nahuatl, the Aztec language, and it is an application that simplifies the bureaucratic process, providing detailed information about the procedures in Mexico City, as well as a step by step guide with the recommendations of other users.

2nd Place: Adiuvo
An application to search for missing persons and to prevent abductions through citizen reports and social collaboration.

3rd Place: ¡ Vive tu Mercado !
An application to support small traders in more than 300 markets in Mexico City, and to promote sustainable competition between traditional markets and supermarkets.

4th Place: SaludCDMX
An interactive platform to explore and analyze data on public health and hospitals in Mexico City.

The hackatona was a very successful in promoting the importance of open government through APIs and open data, and also by opening a channel for programmers, activists, designers, journalists and any interested citizen to help improve their cities through technological innovations and analysis of government data.

See here all the videos of the 4 winner apps of HackDF

The Laboratorio para la Ciudad, event organizer, promises to follow up on the ideas developed by the winning teams, and it is hoped that soon the tools are available to improve the quality of life in the city.