Vancouver Open Data Day Hackathon Recap

Open Data Day is an internationally organised global event to promote awareness and use of open data. This year the non-profit, Open Data British Columbia (OpenDataBC), organised an event in Vancouver March 4th around four key challenges:

  • Open Research Data,
  • Tracking Public Money Flows,
  • Open Data for Environment, and
  • Open Data for Human Rights.

More than 60 people including representatives from the DataBC Team attended while more than 201 viewers enjoyed the Periscope live feed. The event provided an opportunity for people to come together to find ways to build applications using open data. Vancouver Open Data Day (#VODDAY) continues to grow in size and reach. The event is important because it offered a space for teams to work together, combine ideas with data to make B.C. and beyond better, while at the same time recognising the importance of open data access, policy and transparency in Canada and worldwide.

The DataBC Team was onsite for this event. Greg Lawrance gave a presentation on discovering and accessing B.C. government data assets via the BC Data Catalogue.

Highlights of the Day:

  • An atmosphere of sharing, collaboration, and learning carried throughout the day in awesome workspace provided by The Tribe.
  • The day had a definite international flavour, both because there were people from more than 10 countries and a wonderful Syrian cuisine lunch was shared and enjoyed by the participants.
  • Eleven different projects were developed and presented until late (10:30 p.m.) in the evening.
  • Mentors from DataBC, City of Surrey, City of Vancouver and OpenDataBC were available throughout the day to listen and guide the various teams. Participants were encouraged to connect with mentors after the day to continue work on their projects.
  • Participation from different demographics including students, corporate and small business developers, federal, provincial and municipal governments as well as OpenDataBC Society staff.
  • Excellent feedback and suggestions were received for new datasets and presentation services.

Challenge Winners

DataBC was pleased to be on the judging panel for this event. Overall seven prizes were awarded.  The main challenge winners:

  • City of Vancouver Focus Challenge Winner: Team Meta
    • Apps based on Vancouver open data should be localized into all the languages in which Vancouver residents want them
  • Best Use of DataBC Open Data Sets and International Open Data Day (Public Money Flows) Winner: Felice Han, Yutaka Takahashi, Hal Wang and Ian Wojtowicz (Video)
    • A budget visualization and editing tool
  • International Open Data Day Challenge Winner: Open Sesame
    • Crowdsourcing data from members of the public to improve Municipal Open Data sets
  • Wildcard and Protohack Winner: VanAccess
    • Make public accessibility data open to users
      • Examples: public washrooms and wheel chair accessibility

Thanks to the society for putting together another fantastic event. The DataBC team were impressed with the many ideas from and hard work by the participants.

There are infinite new ways open data can be helpful in finding innovative solutions to the challenges we face and VODDAY is a wonderful incubator for new ideas.

Graffiti by the participants at the end of the day in response to the question, “What was the best part of the day?”