Boston activates new address search tool built at ‘HubHacks’ civic hackathon

A snapshot of the region's most popular running trails, as observed by fitness app RunKeeper. (Image via Mapbox/Runkeeper)
A snapshot of the region's most popular running trails, as observed by fitness app RunKeeper. (Image via Mapbox/Runkeeper)

The City of Boston is releasing a new address-finding tool on its website that aims to help Boston residents submit and track their requests for permits around the city.

An early version of the tool was created last year at the HubHacks hackathon, an event organized by the city that encourages participants to use civic data to present information about the city in appealing and engaging ways. At that event, the goal was to streamline the permit application process.

There are 60 different permits that the city can grant, and each of those starts with a search for the address at which the permit is required.

“Making Boston’s permitting process easy, clear, and predictable has been a priority of my administration since taking office,” said Mayor Walsh in a statement. “When residents, contractors, and business owners give us feedback and inform us of the challenges they face during the permitting process, we listen. I’m happy to launch this new tool that will make business in the city easier.”

The second annual hackathon — HubHacks2 — will take start this week with a kickoff event at District Hall, and will run until April 4.

The goal of such events, said Jascha Franklin-Hodge, the city’s chief information officer, is “to get a better perspective of who we are as a city.” “How do we tell the story of Boston with data and data visualization?”

The city is already partnering with companies like Uber, Waze, RunKeeper and Zipcar, among other companies, to understand the habits of Greater Boston residents.

The City of Boston issues some 86,000 permits annually. Businesses and residents applying for those will find the new search tool on the city’s application website.

BetaBoston editor Janelle Nanos contributed to this report. 

Nidhi Subbaraman writes about science and research. Email her at nidhi.subbaraman@globe.com.
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