Dublin councils launch 18-hour open data challenge

21 Jun 2011

One of the compelling new movements in software is the open data movement, which will spawn a whole new generation of citizen and business-oriented services and apps and hopefully inspire a new era of openness.

Dublin City Council and Fingal County Council have demonstrated vision in appreciating this opportunity and are among the first public-sector bodies in Ireland to grasp the nettle on open data and what it could mean for citizens and businesses.

Dublin City Council and Fingal County Council’s data sets will be opened up for developers and entrepreneurs to compete in Ireland’s first-ever Open Data 18-hr Challenge, at NDRC, Dublin 8, on 4-5 July.

Working with data provided by Dublin City (DUBlinked.ie) and Fingal County Council (data.fingal.ie), the challenge for participants will be to practically demonstrate how open data in areas such as environment, housing and transport can be used to develop commercially viable businesses, all within an 18-hour time frame.

Working in mixed teams with experienced facilitators from NDRC’s Inventorium programme, product and graphic designers and local council experts, participants will rapidly brainstorm, generate and prototype new business ideas based on the council’s open data sets. The event is free to attend, with various cash prizes to be won and the ‘best ideas’ securing follow-up commercial development support from NDRC/Inventorium.

The open data movement

Already well established in other cities and countries, the open data movement has witnessed a burst in new business ideas based on previously inaccessible information held by governments.

The goal is to utilise, in new ways, public data that governments hold with the aim of stimulating new economic activity, innovation and competition, while also fostering a greater culture of openness and transparency.

“Ireland is playing catch up to a lot of other cities and countries in this space and we believe there is much untapped potential here,” Dr Teresa Dillon of NDRC’s Inventorium programme said.

“With our track record in supporting the development of great new digital ideas, we expect to produce applications that will have real business potential. We also expect to get greater insight into what types of data people would like the Irish authorities to release,” Dillon said.

To register your place and receive information on the data sets you can build ideas with, go to Inventorium’s website.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years