Data Hackathon encourages data policy adoption

7 Dec 2010

Ireland’s only Data Hackathon was held recently in Galway and has led to the creation of applications which improve citizen’s access to public data and services, according to the event organisers.

The Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) at NUI Galway and the Galway community space 091 Labs co-hosted the Irish Open Data Hackathon, the goal of which was to encourage the adoption of open data policies by local, regional and national governments worldwide.

DERI said open data policies increase government transparency and spur the digital economy, as well as raise public knowledge of how governments work.

Active involvement

Prof 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.”

Applications created on the day in Galway included a website that helps citizens track the latest planning applications submitted to Galway City Council, an integrated online bus schedule for Galway-Dublin coach connections, an online visual report that shows where Art Council funding goes, as well as a new application showing all public toilets in Galway.

Grassroots effort

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.”

The NUI Galway-based Hackathon was part of a global series of events, with more than 1,000 people in more than 73 cities on five continents participating.

DERI is a centre for science, engineering and technology (CSET) established in 2003 with funding from science foundation Ireland (SFI).