Hacking Big Data and Open Data in San Diego #Hack4SD

Dates: March 09 & 16
Location: Peterson Gym (Rm 153)
San Diego State University
Cost: FREE
Contact: Prof. Amy Schmitz Weiss
Prof. Ming-Hsiang Tsou
Prof. Atsushi Nara
Github: Github
Registration Closed

Download our Final Report (pdf) (doc)
Organized by Human Dynamic at Mobile Age @ SDSU


Thank you so much for your participation in the final round presentations.
After a long judge deliberation, the judge panel has announced our winners of the 2019 Big Data Hackathon.

ET’s NY Analytics Geeks

1st Prize



Team Rocket

2nd Prize



Light Smart

3rd Prize



What the Health

Most Innovative Proposal Ideas



The League

Strongest Teamwork



Team Rocket

Zip Launch Pad - Best Team



What the Health

Zip Launch Pad - Women in STEM




Zip Launch Pad - Best Team Aging Independently



Open San Diego & Friends

Zip Launch Pad - 2nd Place Aging Independently



Crusader Coders

Young Geocomputational Thinker



Coding for Christ

2nd Place Young Geocomputational Thinker



2019 Hackathon Theme

The hackathon will focus on one theme:


Teams will have an opportunity to win awards for the best overall project.
Just create an app, platform and/or technology that can tie into the smart living theme to win the prizes!


1st Prize


2nd Prize


3rd Prize


No need to have all the skills—that’s what TEAMWORK is for!
We will help you to find team members during the first day.
Please join us if you have:

  • Journalistic, creative or innovative ideas
  • Business or marketing savvy
  • Data sense or math/statistics concepts
  • Domain Knowledge and Critical Thinking
  • Computational Linguistics or Digital Humanities skills
  • Mapping or programming skills


Lots of free and open San Diego datasets!

These research questions are examplary questions. Participants can create their own questions using various datasets.
You can visit SCALE website or San Diego Regional Data Library to get more ideas and datasets for your hackathon topics.

Smart City
Question 1: How can San Diegans have better options for parking in high-traffic areas to avoid congestion?
Question 2: How can we get an emergency vehicle to the scene in shortest possible time can save lives?
1. San Diego Planning Database
2. Healthy Places Index
5. DataSD
6. Bike Route
7. Districts
8. Library Locations
Smart Environment
Question 1: How can San Diegans have access to better air quality indoors and outdoors?
Question 2: How can we clean San Diego beaches effectively?
1. Water project datasets
2. EPA Air Quality Data
3. California Environmental Data Exchange Network
4. CalEPA
5. Weather
7. Park Location
8. Streetlight Location
Smart Education
Question 1: How can schools better utilize their physical resources?
Question 2: How to provide better school bus routing plan for San Diego Unified School Districts?
1. California School Dashboard
2. California Department of Education
3. College Scoreboard
4. CA Community Colleges Datamart
5. National Center for Educational Statistics
Smart Transportation
Question 1: How can San Diegans make better transportation decisions of getting from point A to Z that leaves a smaller carbon footprint?
1. Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System
2. Transportation Injury Mapping System
3. Traffic Volumes
4. San Diego Traffic Volumes
5. Caltrans GIS
6. California Transportation Survey
7. Historical Traffic Volumes
8. Neighborhood GIS
9. Historical Weather I
10. Historical Weather II
Smart Health
Question 1: How can we share useful public health information and web analytical tools for improve public health in San Diego?
Question 2: What chronic diseases affect San Diegans and how can these conditions be managed daily?
2. California HHS Data Portal
3. San Diego County HHS
4. Consumer Expenditures Survey
5. Neighborhood GIS-Food Desert (SCALE SD)


We've compiled a list of resources, APIs, libraries, and ideas just for you.

1. Prezi 2. Emaze
3. Google Slides 4. Libre Office
5. Google Docs
1. Amazon EC2 2. Heroku
3. Backendless 4. Parse
File Sharing & Cloud Stores
1. Dropbox 2. Box
3. Google Drive 4. Amazon S3
5. FileZilla
Project Management
1. Github 2. Trello
3. ASANA 4. Slack
Text Editors
1. Sublime Text 2. Atom
3. Notepad++ 4. TextWrangler

2019 Agenda





08:30 – 09:00 am

Check-in (Coffee provided)

09:00 – 09:30 am

Opening Remarks and Orientation (How to use Github and Theme Introduction)

Dr. Amy Schmitz Weiss
Dr. Ming Tsou

09:30 – 11:00 am

Smart Living Presentations by Experts

1. Finding Compelling Stories in data
2. SDSU ZIP LaunchPad Introduction
3. Smart and Sustainable Communities

~~~ Coffee Break (10:15 - 10:30 am) ~~~

4. SoulMuch: turn rescued food into delicious cookie
5. Smart Health Institute
6. San Diego Regional Data Library

Brad Racino (iNews Source)
Cathy Pucher (Director)
Erik Caldwell, Deputy Chief Operating Officer (DCOO) at City of San Diego

Kristian Krugman
Prof. Kee S. Moon, SDSU
Eric Busboom

11:00 – 12:00 pm

Team Formation and Group meeting/Discussion

  • Individuals should meet your group members now
  • Each team will select one team coordinator
  • Each team coordinator should have or create a Github account

Dr. Atsushi Nara

12:00 – 01:00 pm

Lunch (Pizza) and Team Finalized

  • Each team coordinator will submit the team information via
    Google Form by 12:30 pm
  • Organizers will assign a Github repository for each team
    (check email and accept the Github invitation!)

01:00 – 01:30 pm

Introduce Open San Diego
Introduce HealthLINK Project
Smart City and Urban Calculator

Issac Wang
Prof. Ming-Hsiang Tsou, SDSU
Prof. Bruce Appleyard, SDSU

01:30 – 03:00 pm

Design Thinking Workshop by ZIP Idea Lab

Cathy Pucher (Director)

03:00 – 03:15 pm

Coffee Break

03:15 – 03:30 pm

Introduction of Development Tools/Project plan basics
AWS(free credit $100 for the first 30 teams to apply – by emails to Dr. Tsou),
Introduce Tableau, Python, R (free student license), etc. and the Idea Lab

Douglas Brantley

03:30 pm

Introducing Mentors (each mentor will introduce themselves – 2 mins, and pick up their preferred proposals and teams)

03:30 – 04:30 pm

Prepare project plan/proposal (meeting with mentors/coaches)

04:30 pm

Project Proposal Submission deadline
Customize the Markdown submission form in your Team Github Repo

04:30 - 06:00 pm

Pitching Ideas based on the preliminary proposal/project plan
(individual presentations in PG 153 at a time)

90 seconds per team

06:00 - 06:15 pm

Conclusions and Next Steps (prepare for the Next Week)
(Dinner on your own)

06:15 pm

End of Day 1 (Teams may continue to meet)
The room will be closed at 6:30 p.m.

Each Hackathon Team will continue their own meetings and hacking exercises
during the one week between 3/09 and 3/16)

Use of ZIP Launchpad co-working space for team work

Location: EIS 103
Dates: March 11-15
Time: 1pm-5pm
Including coffee and snacks, white boards, screen, and open collaborative work space.
Please contact Cathy Pucher cpucher@sdsu.edu if you would like use of a conference room.

Supplies and lab resources from the ZIP Launchpad HG Fenton Company Idea Lab (rapid prototyping lab)

Location: EIS 103
Dates: March 11-15
Time: 1pm-5pm

Lab Resources to Create Big Data IOT Solutions includes but not limited to:
  • 3D Design
  • 3D Printing
  • Electronics Prototyping
  • Dual Monitor Workstations
  • Access to Arduino / Raspberry Pi (Supplies Limited)
  • Access to Breadboards / Wires / Sensor Kit (Supplies Limited)
  • Note: supplies limited. Please contact dbrantley@sdsu.edu to confirm/reserve your supplies





    08:30 – 09:00 am

    Check-in and Coffee

    09:00 – 09:30 am

    Overview + Q&A Session +
    Introduction to the Hackathon Judge Criteria and the new Big Data Analytics Degree at SDSU

    Dr. Amy Schmitz Weiss
    Dr. Ming Tsou

    09:30 – 10:00 am

    Practice Pitch Time.
    Check with Dr. Nara about the presentation slides and final project form on Github.

    10:00 am

    All teams MUST submit their final project subnmission form and presentation slides to Github BEFORE 10:00 am. The team presentation schedule will be announced at 10:10 am. Please check "README.md" in your team GitHub Repository for more details!

    10:15-12:10 pm

    First Session for the Team Presentations (16 Teams), Each Team will have 4 mins Presentation time + 1 min Q&A (5 mins total)

    12:10 - 01:00 pm

    Lunch (Pizza)

    01:00 - 02:15 pm

    Second Session for Team Presentations (all remaining teams 12) Each Team will have 4 mins Presentation time + 1 min Q&A (5 mins total)

    02:15 - 02:30 pm

    Coffee Break

    02:30-03:00 pm

    Introduce the SCALE SD hackathon opportunity (10 mins)
    Introduce the Lavin Center (5 mins)
    Zip LaunchPAD intro (5 mins)
    Hackathon Evaluation (10 mins)
    You will be invited to take a post-event survey sponsored by Encoding Geography later!

    Daniel Obodovski
    Alex DeNoble

    02:15-03:45 pm

    Judge Deliberations

    03:45 - 04:15 pm

    Awards (10) and Closing Ceremony
    (Note: the Award Ceremony may start earlier such as 3:30pm if the Judge Deliberations finish earlier)
    Team members must be present at the awards ceremony to receive prizes.

    04:30 pm

    End of Day 2


    Dr. Ming-Hsiang (Ming) Tsou (Geography, SDSU)


    Dr. Ming-Hsiang (Ming) Tsou is a Professor in the Department of Geography, San Diego State University (SDSU) and the Director of Center for Human Dynamics in the Mobile Age (HDMA). His research interests are in Human Dynamics, Social Media, Big Data, Visualization, Internet Mapping, Web GIS, and Mobile GIS. http://map.sdsu.edu/tsou/

    Erik Caldwell (City of San Diego)

    Deputy Chief Operating Officer (DCOO)

    Mr. Caldwell oversees the day-to-day City operations of the Smart and Sustainable Communities Branch which includes the Development Services, Economic Development, Planning, and Sustainability departments. The Branch is charged with providing services that enrich San Diego’s diverse communities, engage its citizens, and to improve service delivery by leveraging Smart Cities technologies.

    Dr. Karen Haines

    Karen Haines, Ph.D., is experienced in developing advanced applications in the areas of digital signal/image/video processing, computational vision, pattern recognition, machine learning and scientific programming. She is well versed in mathematics and engineering principles applied to signals/image processing methods. She brings with her, experienced in designing, implementing, debugging/testing, and optimizing computer programs across a variety of computer architectures, including heterogeneous parallel computing, using a variety of programming languages and operating systems. Recent research efforts include the exploration into a virtual hexel (hexagon element) image processing environments. She is currently pursuing an Open University Certificate in Geographic Information Science.

    Bruce Appleyard

    Dr. Bruce Appleyard is an associate professor of city planning in the School of Public Affairs at San Diego State University. He works with people and agencies to help them make more informed decisions about how we all live, work and thrive, now and into the future. Dr. Appleyard specializes in applied research of human settlement and behavior patterns at the intersection of urban design, transportation, land use, and environmental science. He has published numerous peer-reviewed and professional articles informing policies and practices toward achieving a range of sustainability, livability, and social equity objectives. He is also an expert in transit-oriented corridors, street livability, climate action planning, smart growth implementation, and social equity analysis. He coauthored the APA’s textbook on The Transportation/Land Use Connection, as well as TRB’s new Handbook for Building Livable Transit Corridors and Smart Growth/Livability Calculator.

    Elise Telford

    Elise Telford is a Digital Marketing Strategist at Futurety, a data-driven marketing consulting agency. She specializes in multi-channel content strategy, social media and email marketing, and conversion optimization strategy. Elise has lived in Washington, D.C. working in the advertising, business consulting, and non-profit industries. Elise is also the owner of RE•FRAME, a company dedicated to coaching women move past self-doubt and gain clarity to live like never before

    Eric Busboom

    Eric Busboom is an entrepreneur, technologist, and philanthropist, and is most interested in solving important social problems using data. His career has covered nonprofits, telecommunications, software engineering, healthcare, fashion and action sports. His current nonprofit project is the San Diego Regional Data Library, a data analysis organization that helps San Diego county nonprofits to be more effective by using data more efficiently. The Data Library is supported by his company, Civic Knowledge, which builds curated data collections for nonprofits, government and journalists.

    Ashley Graham

    Ashley Graham is the founder and creative director of Brandesso, a modern-day branding and marketing agency that infuses brand authority through caffeinated strategies and communications through social media and public relations. To Brandesso, every brand has a unique story. Their creative process is to filter the raw, unique details of a brand and incorporate a well rounded methodology and strategy that brews the brand to stand out in their industry as an authoritative figure.

    Kirsten Iversen

    Kirsten Iversen is a Business Consultant with a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt in Operational Excellence. She guides entrepreneurs and teams on how to work smarter not harder by establishing simple processes to save precious time and money. Her most recent product is called Inbox Zen launching this spring. https://kirsteniversen.com/


    Amy Schmitz Weiss Associate Professor,
    Journalism, SDSU

    Atsushi Nara Assistant Professor,

    Hakan Toreyin Professor,
    Electrical and Computer Engineering,
    Smart Health Institute, SDSU

    Cathy Pucher Executive Director,
    ZIP Launchpad, SDSU

    Margaret Henderson Health Sciences Librarian,

    Isaac Wang Brigade Captain, Open San Diego

    Kelly Abott CTO,

    Judge Criteria

    • Quality of the idea
    • Innovativeness / Creativity of the idea
    • Readiness of the idea to go to market
    • Impact of idea on Smart Living
    • The demonstration of teamwork/collaboration
    • The development and design of the idea (can include code but not required)


    Sponsorship Information: click here

    Platinum Sponsors

    Gold Sponsors

    Silver Sponsors

    Bronze Sponsors



    SDSU Coordinators

    • Amy Schmitz Weiss (lead): Associate Professor in the School of Journalism and Media Studies, SDSU
    • Ming-Hsiang (Ming) Tsou: Professor in Geography and Director of Center for Human Dynamics in the Mobile Age
    • Atsushi Nara: Assistant Professor in Geography and the Center for Human Dynamics in the Mobile Age, SDSU


    Additional SDSU Faculty Collaborators