Discover Fingal app wins open data competition

22 Mar 2012

Tourism app Discover Fingal was voted the winner of Fingal County Council’s Apps4Fingal competition which aimed to help the council show how using public data generates business and improves access to local government.

The competition invited developers to build mobile or online apps using Fingal County Council’s public data in order to help create economic opportunities, make useful apps for the public and to raise awareness of the Fingal Open Data initiative. Twenty-one free apps were created and 36 apps ideas were submitted using free data from Fingal County Council.

The winning app helps visitors navigate tourist attractions in the area, picking up loyalty points along the way.

Other winners of a combined prize fund of €11,500 included traffic app Fingal Traffic View, which uses live traffic cameras, tweets and speed trap locations; which shows planning applications on an interactive map, and Fingal Day Tripper, which helps users plan days out in the region.

An ideas award was given to the concept of the Fingal Deals app, which listed all deals available from local businesses in any part of the area.

Open data

The council was the first public body in Ireland to share public data and has published 120 data sets since 2010. Apps and services created using this data include a Bring Bank app, a Disabled Parking Spaces app, a Find your Polling Station website and an Interactive Map of Traffic Camera locations.

“Users of local services often get frustrated trying to do business with their local council,” said Dominic Byrne, assistant head of IT with the council and leader of Fingal’s open data initiative.

“Lack of transparency into all kinds of government leaves the average citizen bewildered. Public bodies in Ireland are sitting on a data resource potentially worth tens of millions of euro, one that can stimulate new innovations, generate significant business opportunities and increase the transparency of government.

“Open data in Ireland is in its infancy and the Apps4Fingal competition has brought the potential of app development to the next level and helped people to understand what open data is about.

“Fingal wants to be at the forefront of nurturing this economic potential here in Ireland and in making government more transparent and accountable,” he said.