This weekend we completed the first of our ‘Connecting the City’ hackathons. Hackathons, for those who aren’t familiar with the term, are much less threatening that the name might suggest. They’re an opportunity for developers, designers, and people with problems that need solving to get together and try to build prototype solutions. Our hackathons are going to focus on how we can utilise shared data to connect together organisations and citizens for the benefit of all; we want to help release data from the silos where it’s currently locked away so that information can be extracted and put to use. This first hack took data relating to community services, held by both Newcastle City Council and North Tyneside Council, and delivered access to a number of individuals and SMEs. They worked tirelessly from Saturday morning until Sunday afternoon (in some cases without any sleep) to build four prototypes that demonstrated how access to the raw resource of the digital age, data, can stimulate the imagination and innovation. It’s not an exaggeration to say that the Council staff involved, who included Newcastle City Council’s Tony Durcan, Assistant Director of Digital Newcastle and North Tyneside Council’s Craig Anderson, Policy, Performance and Research Manager, were all immensely impressed by the quality of the outcomes.
As one attendee said “if we can produce these results in just 30 hours by giving a small group of smart people access to a small amount of data, imagine what could be produced if we gave large amounts of data to the entire region!”.
Although the attendees often worked in cooperative mode there was also some level of competition with the Orangebus team declared the eventual winner. You can see a video of their presentation here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73zpeEqlSKE .
The event was sponsored by ENGIE, the world’s 26th largest business, and run by Newcastle University’s Cloud Innovation Centre.
Cloud Innovation Centre
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Newcastle upon Tyne
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