Code for America has developed a broad range of innovative, localized, civic fixing tools, from a Boston school bus tracker, to Coucilmatic, an app that distills the results of the Philadelphia City Council meetings. CFA has 26 fellows scattered around the nation tech tinkering on city issues. But what happens when the Peace Corps style fellowship for civic-minded geeks comes to Hawaii? The tsunami warning system gets a reboot.
Modeled after an app that harnesses the power of concerned citizens to dig out fire hydrants after a snow storm or unclog storm drains, the adopt-a-siren app makes keeping the island's tsunami warning system fully functional a distributed responsibility. It's a simple idea really. Sign up to monitor your local tsunami alert siren and report back when there's a problem. So far, nearly a third of the sirens have found parents.
Next up for the Honolulu Code for America team is an app that locates and describes public art in the city. By the end of the year, the tech developers aim to have built half a dozen other tools to make Honolulu's neighborhoods quieter, cleaner, and safer.
“This project is bigger than politics,” Forest Frizzell, Deputy Director of Honolulu's Department of Information Technology, says. “We’re able to solve real-world problems. Technology and civic engagement really is the great equalizer for helping solve community problems.”