Galway hosts Ireland’s only Data Hackathon event
By Martina Nee
The only Irish Open Data Hackathon, co-hosted by the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) at NUI Galway and the Galway Community space 091 Labs, led to the creation of useful websites and software applications to improve citizens’ access to public data and services, and knowledge and understanding of the work of governments.
The NUI Galway based Hackathon, held on December 4, was part of a global series of events, ranging from Bangalore to Los Angeles and from Brasilia to Thailand, celebrating and highlighting the use of open data for citizens.
The goal of the one day Hackathon event was to encourage the adoption of open data policies by the world’s local, regional, and national governments. According to organisers, open data policies increase government transparency, spur the digital economy, and improve civic participation.
Applications created on the day in Galway included a website that helps citizens track the latest planning applications submitted to the Galway City Council, and an integrated online bus schedule for all Galway-Dublin coach connections. Another website allows users to utilise an improved way of accessing Dublin Bus schedules. A team produced an online visual report that shows where Arts Council funding goes, while a new application showing all the public toilets in Galway city including wheelchair accessible toilets was also created.
Professor Stefan Decker, director of DERI Galway, said: “DERI’s participation in the Open Data Day shows that Irish researchers do not only publish academic papers, but are actively involved in shaping their community. To maximise the value I would like to encourage local and national governments to make their data available.”
Declan Elliott, founder of 091 Labs in Galway, said: “Open data is a grassroots effort. In times when politics cannot solve major problems, collaborative community spaces like 091Labs in Galway encourage public participation. This fosters creativity which in turn produces value by creating new ideas which enable entrepreneurs and spur economic growth.”