Maine coders spend weekend hacking local government

On the nicest days of the year so far, 20 programmers in Bangor spent the weekend inside, donating time to hack projects for their local governments.

The projects in Bangor included a tool to track the location of city vehicles such as snow plows and street sweepers in real time, a map to track crashes at intersections in Bangor and identify problem junctions, and an interactive exhibit for the Maine Discovery Museum that can be controlled through the Internet.

The term “hack” often carries a negative connotation, but in the tech community the word means something that has been cobbled together quickly, often with limited resources. The hackathon — an event where programmers work together to solve a problem — was part of the National Day of Civic Hacking. Hackathons were also held in Portland and Biddeford, and about 90 other cities across the country.