Packaging Open Data for Desarrollando América Latina


2 min read

We spent several days this week preparing data for Desarrollando América Latina, a 30 hour hackathon focusing specifically on Latin America that kicks off next weekend (December 3rd and 4th). The competition spans across six countries in Latin America — Chile, Peru, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, and Mexico — which shows how much traction the open data movement is making in Latin America. I will be representing MapBox in Lima along w/ Ruben Lopez, an open data intern working with our team and the Municipality of Huamanga, Ayacucho, Peru, while Eric judges entries in Mexico City.

At the Lima hackathon, I will have a MapBox appliance with TileMill set up and available to use for anyone who wants to build maps and take advantage of its fast processing power. To make it easier for teams to make incredible maps Ruben has packaged up Peru’s 2007 Census data. Part of this work involved taking a shapefile of all state, province, and district boundaries and joining each row to the state, province, and district identifiers in the Census data. With this data post processing task out of the way, teams can focus on finding interesting and valuable stories to tell with Census data for their hackathon application. For example, our hackathon team plans to incorporate Census data into maps that visualize the education quality across Peru.

Ruben and I will be at the Lima competition all weekend and available to offer tips on using TileMill to make maps with the Census and other data, as well as to talk more about open data in general. I will also be running an adhoc TileMill tutorial early on Saturday to introduce people to the open source tool, show what is possible in mapping open data, and quickly walk through how to use it for anyone wanting to develop a map-based application during the hackathon.

If you want to join us in Lima, there are more specifics on the event posted by Escuelab. To get in touch with me directly about TileMill and mapping in general at the event, message me @ianshward.

You can also download TileMill in advance, and find support and documentation on how to use it at

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