A Hack Day in Silicon Valley. Photo by Laughing Squid on Flickr.

If you’re a coder interested in creating tools or fun visualizations with transit data, we hope you can come to the Hack Day on Saturday, September 10. And if you want to dig into some transit data projects full-time for the next few months, apply for one of 3 Mobility Lab Fellowships which we’re announcing today.

The Hack Day is an opportunity for people to come together and work on projects, whether their own or others, around using open data to help people understand or utilize transit.

We will have some experts from several areas, including transit agencies and Capital Bikeshare, to share some of their challenges, spark ideas for new projects, and answer questions.

If you don’t yet know much about creating maps with code but want to learn about the latest technologies to do that, one session will feature someone from Development Seed, makers of the TileMill open source mapmaking system. They will explain the current stack of tools that can turn OpenStreetMap data and transit feeds into interesting maps.

The Hack Day runs from 10am to 5pm on Saturday, September 10th at the Mobility Lab, 1501 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn. RSVP here.

After the Hack Day, everyone can keep working on their many projects; in addition, the Mobility Lab is also offering 3 paid fellowships for people interested in committing to full-time work. We’ve identified a few projects we believe will make transit information much more accessible to people in the DC region and beyond:

Helping people understand bus service: The bus network is extensive but complex and hard to understand. One project will develop a prototype system to generate personalized maps inspired by London’s “spider maps.” We discussed these recently; now it’s time to start generating some and help people sort through their bus options.

Automating commute plans: Arlington Transportation Partners generates “commute plans” for employees of companies moving to Arlington, to help people know how to get to and from work by transit, bicycling, walking, carpool and vanpool, slugging and more. Right now, they generate these largely by hand, which limits the number they can generate. We will automate this process and add code to automatically generate useful graphics as well.

Deploying real-time information screens: Current real-time bus and train arrival screens cost thousands of dollars, which limits their deployment to few locations. Low-cost technology can make it possible to deploy more screens that show real-time bus and train arrivals, Capital Bikeshare availability, car sharing and more. We will investigate technologies to allow for more of these screens to appear in busy commercial areas in DC, Arlington and elsewhere, either on public property or in the windows of local stores.

The Mobility Lab is looking for 2 software development fellows and 1 visual design fellow for these projects.

Software development fellows should be multi-talented engineers with an interest in both front and back-end software development. An interest in data visualization using modern web standards (e.g. HTML5 and SVG) or cartography is a significant plus, as is familiarity building applications using Python or Ruby based frameworks.

Visual design fellows should be multi-talented designers with an interest in data visualization using modern web standards (e.g. HTML5 and SVG). An interest in cartography is a plus as is familiarity with web application development.

A sense of curiosity and an interest in transportation are required for all fellows!

Fellows will receive a stipend of $4,000 per month for work through mid-January. Fellows can start on September 12 or October 3 and will work collaboratively at the Mobility Lab during regular working hours. To apply, send a cover letter and resume to Tom.Fairchild@mobilitylab.org.

David Alpert is Founder and President of Greater Greater Washington and Executive Director of DC Sustainable Transportation (DCST). He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle. Unless otherwise noted, opinions in his GGWash posts are his and not the official views of GGWash or DCST.