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Civic Hackathon: Plowing Through the Data

The City of Syracuse, the iSchool, and AT&T partnering on the Plowing Through the Data Hackathon

The Civic Hackathon: Plowing Through the Data, Powered by AT&T is a partnership between the School of Information Studies (iSchool) at Syracuse University and the City of Syracuse to encourage community solutions to assist the City of Syracuse in addressing snow removal from the City's public roads.

The Hackathon is designed to engage technologists, designers, developers, and anyone else who is interested to use their skills for social good.

Every year, the City of Syracuse is covered with feet of snow and is often the snowiest place in the country.

With all of that snow, plows need to clear the more than 400 miles of roads to ensure safe transportation for the community. For the first time, the City of Syracuse has released data from GPS trackers on its snowplows in the hopes that students and volunteers can help find useful information from the thousands of rows of data generated.

For this hackathon, participants are challenged to create data visualizations, find interesting insights, and help City staff determine what they should look for from this data when it snows.

For example, you could: Create an interactive, and easy to use map of where snowplows have been and what they have been doing; build a searchable tool so a user could see if their street had been plowed; show where and how much plowing happens during specific time periods or in certain locations; or build a route optimization tool for plows.

Those are merely examples to provide an idea of possible projects, but participants are encouraged to think creatively and use the availabile data in any way they think helps the City realize its goal.

  • Participants may form teams, or may compete as individuals.
  • Cash prizes will be given for 1st ($3500), 2nd ($2000), and 3rd ($1500) place.
  • Anyone is eligible to participate - you do not have to be a Syracuse University student to take part.
  • Projects are due at 11:59 PM on March 1st - via the submission link at the bottom of this page.
  • Judging will take place after all entries are received, and winners will be notified by e-mail on Monday, March 5, and announced publicly at a ceremony on March 7
    • Judges will evaluate projects along the following critetia: Presentation, Idea Creativity, Sustainability, Impact, and Technical Quality.

Hackathon Timeline:

February 8: 

Hackathon kickoff, data made available.

February 15:

Snow Safety Summit.The City's Innovation Team will facilitate 4 different stations exploring issues around snow removal. Participants in the challenge are encouraged to attend to better understand the challenges that City residents want solutions to address.  The summit will be held from 6:00 - 8:00 PM at Dr. Weeks Elementary School (Cafeteria) -  710 Hawley Avenue, Syracuse, NY 13203.

February 21:

Virtual Open Office Hours via web conference with iSchool faculty members. 2:00 - 4:00 PM. A login link was sent to participants who have filled out the registration form below.

March 1:

Projects due by 11:59 PM.

March 7:

Winners announced at a ceremony at the iSchool - Hinds Hall, Syracuse University campus. 10:00 AM.


Download Snowplow Data: 

The City of Syracuse has made their snowplow data available on their Open Data website.

Download the Data

Register your Team:

Provide your contact information and register your hackathon team. Registration is not required but it allows us to send you e-mail reminders about the hackathon schedule and events.

Team Registration is Closed

Submit your Project:

Fill out the form at the link below and attach any files to submit your project for judging. Entries are due by 11:59 PM on March 1.

Project Submission is Closed


For questions about the data from the City of Syracuse, contact Sam Edelstein, the City's Chief Data Officer at


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