The 2nd annual Namibian ‘Open Data’ hackathon is underway at the Namibian Business Innovation Institute’s (NBII) Mobile Lab located on the Namibian University of Science and Technology (NUST) grounds. The hackathon event runs all whole day on the 5th and 6th of March, 2016. Participants form teams and focus on one of 5 areas of public service delivery to create software enabled solutions to them. Follow up prototype presentations are to be held at 5:30pm at the same venue on Thursday, 10th March, 2016.
“To create awareness around using open data to improve efficiency in Namibian social and civil service delivery.”
The event is organized by Lamech Amugongo, a software developer who has been active in the nascent innovation and open data scene in Namibia, and NBII’s Mobile Lab which provided the space and internet access.
What is ‘Open Data’?
‘Open Data’ refers to the idea that certain data should be freely available to everyone to use and republish as they wish, without restrictions from copyright, patents or other mechanisms of control. In the context of this hackathon that means accessing public data around social services and identifying where improvements using software based solutions could be made.
For example a UK based startup , TransportAPI, aggregated all British public transport information ranging from bicycle lanes to city underground train schedules into an easily accessible API which is now used to build apps by various municipalities and businesses alike.
Over 15 participants attended and created 5 teams that focused on creating software based improvements to service delivery in:
- Water utility services
- Medical health based services
- City public transport services
- Emergency response services
- Food Bank access services
Lamech says he created the event to create awareness around using open data to improve efficiency in Namibian social and civil service delivery. Teams will present their prototypes at the Mobile Lab on Wednesday and are expected to present final versions at the national ICT summit taking place later this year.
A highlight of this hackathon event was that teams got to work with smartcitizen.me‘s Arduino kits which include various sensors for environmental data.
The atmosphere at this year’s event was lively with developers fully engaged in the projects they are working on. Participants remarked on how events of this type were sorely needed and must take place more frequently in the future. The event is expected to expand into different regions of Namibia in 2017.