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April 25, 2014
24 Hour Coding Challenge

The last weekend of March saw GMDSP’s inaugural 24 hour Coding Challenge, in which 9 teams from across Europe competed for a slice of a £3500 development prize fund.

The challenge attracted participants with skill sets as varied as User Experience, Data Science, Coding and Project Management. In addition to numerous digital and software professionals, technical representatives from Salford based permaculture network The Biospheric Foundation and the Greater Manchester Centre For Voluntary Organisations were in attendance, whilst travelling from further afield, a team of delegates from Istanbul took part.
The event was focussed on seven challenges that had been announced at the previous week’s GMDSP Data Dive:

  • Land & Property Challenge
  • Lifestyle & Wellbeing Challenge
  • Environmental Challenge
  • Developer Challenge
  • Best Use of Multiple Data Sets
  • Best Use of Data Visualisation
  • Best App, 21 & Under
  • In keeping with the of calibre event participants, we were honoured to host a judging panel consisting of some key figures in civic and tech innovation, open data advocacy and regional public administration:
  • Ann Cartledge – Data Governance, Manchester City Council
  • John Gibbons – Principal System Developer, Salford City Council
  • Katalin Gallyas – Open Innovation Policy Advisor, City of Amsterdam
  • Maurizio Pilu – Partnerships Director, Connected Digital Economy Catapult
  • Sander van der Waal – Projects Director, Open Knowledge Foundation
  • 24 Hours Later

    An impressive number of teams stayed up for the duration of the challenge, working down to the wire at 5pm on the Sunday.
    Throughout the afternoon, judges had been given the opportunity to circulate the room and ask teams about their projects. Once coding had finished, each team gave a quick fire presentation for a maximum two and a half minutes, which informed the votes for the developers prize. Shortly after developer ballot had been collected, the winners were announced:

    Lightraider, Team Coconuts Revolution – Lifestyle & Wellbeing Challenge

    Light raider aims to address the issue of increasingly sedentary lifestyles across the UK. In such a busy age, people often find it hard to make time to go to the gym or add an additional physical activity to their busy working day.

    Upon registering, players are given ‘energy’ light source, which they need maintain by going outdoors and passing streetlights in a defined geographic area. To make the game more enjoyable and competitive, the players are awarded with points by competing with others in their neighbourhood ‘raiding’ (capturing) streetlights. This app makes an imaginative use of the Street lights data released by Greater Manchester Councils.

    Recycle, Team Thales – Environmental Challenge

    Governments across Europe are under mounting pressure to meet recycling targets. In the UK, this means financial penalties for local authorities who do not hit targets. Aside from the obvious environmental damage caused by unnecessary waste, this means that citizens are responsible for some of the financial costs imposed on their council, which are ultimately passed on to the citizen in some form.

    The app helps citizens find their nearest recycling centre, displaying centres for certain waste, be they cans, cartons, aerosol or otherwise. Each recycling centre would display a QR code for the user to scan. Using the centre would reward citizens with points for recycling; meaning the points could be redeemed as council tax savings, or another form of currency or discount.

    Invest Locator, Bartlomiej Siemieniuk – Land & Property Challenge, Best App, 21 & Under

    Investlocator is the perfect application for locally engaged citizens and prospective residents of areas who are interested in the planning applications currently in the pipeline in their area, or the historical planning applications in that area. The application allows users to map planning applications based the using geographical information in planning data.

    This app further opens up the public consultation process in its ability to expose developments that could affect the local community or environment, alternatively, such information also has use for business in the planning of activity.

    LightChester, Grzegorz Jacenkow, Developer Challenge, Best Use of Multiple Data Sets

    The Lightchester application makes use of Street light data in conjunction with external data sets. In its primary form the app shows a map view of street lights in Manchester, which makes for quite an impressive visualisation, however when this is plotted against an auxiliary data set, such as street crime statistics, the app becomes a valuable tool in evaluating trends between street visibility, and risks on certain streets – this provides a valuable proof of concept for other advocacy and public management applications using different open data sets.

    Lights Out! – Best Use of Data Visualisation

    Lights Out! allows users to explore energy usage across Manchester’s street light network. The application plots street lights on a map and calculates an approximate cost and energy expenditure figure. This app is interactive and allows users to switch individual lights on and off to investigate how annual running cost and energy usage is affected.

    Looking Forward

    GMDSP We will be hosting another coding challenge in summer time so follow GMDSP on twitter to keep up to date with news and future events.

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