The CodeFest and the Data

If you weren’t at the Open Data CodeFest, here’s what you missed. We started after 11am with an overview and few comments from Garry Bezruki, the City of Waterloo’s Director of Information Management and Technology Services.

Open data advocate and consultant Jury Konga worked with the city to put together a developer’s preview of City of Waterloo open data for this event. The data included: bike lanes, city facilities, heritage buildings, historical street names, parks, places of worship, public art, railway, trails, and ward boundaries. If you’re lucky it may still be available. If not, there is still an opportunity to help test and provide feedback on those data sets and others. In the next week or two the city is doing an open data developer focus group, following which data will be given a wider testing phase before a public launch this spring. If you have any feedback about the data already or would like to be part of the focus group, please contact the city at opendata@waterloo.ca.

The Region of Waterloo also added new data for the CodeFest. They updated the waste collection data and added data on Doors Open Waterloo Region. In addition, the Region shared their real-time airport flight schedule feed. The Region is also interested in feedback on the new data (as well as on existing data sets and requests), so please do contact them at opendata@regionofwaterloo.ca.

It turned out that the 11am start at the University of Waterloo was far too early for many, and so there was surprisingly little effective time before our room booking ended at 4pm. And with the large amount of new data released, much of the time we all spent was actually on looking at the various data sets and on preliminary exploration.

Here’s a few examples of what people worked on: additional feature to an existing transit app, scraping university course calendar data, mapping heritage buildings and public art, and combining bike lanes and paths from three separate data sets.

This was a good start for many present to working with open municipal data, and the new data sets in particular. Another CodeFest in May would probably make sense, perhaps after the City of Waterloo’s official data launch.

In the meantime, if you’ve got the data, use it! And please join us for our monthly meet-up this Thursday evening, April 5, at Queen Street Commons Cafe in downtown Kitchener, from 7pm to 8:30pm. We’ll discuss the CodeFest and the data, and plan more events, including OpenDemos and the next CodeFest.

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