Highlighting the civic projects, datasets, resources and people that make Madison better.

Hacking Madison is an umbrella for the people and projects dedicated to Civic Hacking in the Madison, WI Area.

We occasionally get together for Meetups or other Events, but mostly work online.

Want to add your project, API, dataset, or contact info? Send us a Pull Request

Projects A handful of Madison's civic hacking projects currently in use

Transit Tools

Real-time bus arrival estimates via SMS, phone and chat
Native android app that shows real-time arrival estimates on your smart phone
Mother Fool's custom kiosk
A customizable browser dashboard that shows arrival times for two stops of your choosing


Adopt-a-hydrant is an open-source project built and shared by Code for America. It encourages citizen engagement by letting individuals sign up as a caregiver for a fire hydrant when the snow storms hit. This Rails app has been customized and deployed here in Madison.

launch app

Transit API

An extension to the original SMS application, this unofficial API provides a web services wrapper around the Metro's transit data to enabled organizations to build their own Madison transit applications. Access:'

  • real-time arrival estimates for all stops
  • perform geo-spacial queries for Metro stops
  • get location details for all stops
  • find route details

view api


This is an awesome collection of web tools and APIs from Chris Keller. The services provide access to police and fire details from around Madison.

launch app

Madison Crimeline

Using Open Incident Data, which is updated frequently with whitty quips written by the Madison Police Department's aspiring authors (mainly PIO Joel DeSpain), this app creates a timeline of Incident data overlayed on a map using geospacial data.

launch app


An open source mapping tool to gather crowd sourced public input.

Little Libraries

Mapping current and prospective Little Library locations in Madison.

launch app

What needs to be mapped?

Have an idea for crowd sourcing a location/mapping issue?

Email us!

Check out the open source project that makes these apps possible.

Project X

Your project goes here! Let us know what you're working on.

Email us!

Datasets The open data available in Madison

Transit Data

The Madison Metro provides downloadable access to stop and route data in GTFS format. It is the official data set of the Metro transit system.

view details

The unofficial transit API available through the SMSMyBus project offers a programmable, web services interface to this data and more including real-time arrival data for stops throughout the city.

view api

City Data

The city of Madison provides open data for in a json format.

view datasets

Hackery Some of the tools in our toolbox

The number and breadth of tools and resources available to technologists is what makes all of this work possible. We've taken advantage of a number of open source projects, hosted solutions and APIs to build these apps. These tools also enable us to stay better connected. Please join the conversation.


Find our open source projects on the HackingMadison Github page

our github

Hosted Services

Platforms as a Service (PaaS) offer awesome opportunities to drive the hosting cost of many projects to zero. Take advantage of it!


HackingMadison organizes and communicates in a few different ways. Here are some ways to find the group online.

A Google Group email list
Email us directly at team@hackingmadison.org

Code for America

Code for America is a game changing organization that has the bold mission of networking cities, developers and startups to help make governments work better.

In addition to their fellowship program, their crack team of fellows share all kinds of great projects we could be deploying here in Madison. That is precisely where the Adopt-a-hydrant app came from.

CfA Github

Past Events Getting the community together

CityHack 2013

On Friday, October 25th, from 9am to 5pm, Madison Tech Companies, including Bendyworks and Hardin Design and Development will be joining forces for a Madison hackathon session. Developers from both companies will be meeting at Central Library to work on day-long projects that make Madison a better place to live. We've been gather ideas and reviewing other open source projects from groups such as Code for America. Developers, graphic artists, and tinker'ers are free to team up with anyone present, or work on projects before the event. There are no prizes, other than working in a collaborative effort alongside other developers from around the area.

There is no RSVP required. Please invite anyone you believe would be interested.

CityCamp 2013

On Saturday, October 26th at the Madison Public Library, third annual CityCamp unconference will bring together local government officials, municipal employees, programmers, designers, citizens, and journalists to share perspectives and insights about the cities in which they live.

Register for CityCamp - it's free!

view the 2013 Agenda

Civic Hacking Madison Meetup

In between CityCamp events, Civic Hackers in Madison meet up to show off their latest work and talk about what's next

View the Meetup

Civic Tribe Meet the Doers

Madison is filled with talented people that volunteer in all sorts of great ways. This group has given their time, energy and expertise to build some of these great projects for Madison and help move the dialog along to encourage the city to open up more data and be more accessible for its citizens. Join us!