Today is the second International Open Data Day. In 50 cities around the world, citizens came together to discuss issues and find ways they can help by building applications and data visualizations using open data. Vancouver and Victoria each hosted hackathons again this year.

In Victoria more than 20 participants collaborated on the following projects:

  • http://ourservices.ca/: Including a representative from the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness, the project team created a map of community services that are accessible by walk-in. This includes food services, walk-in clinics, shelters, and legal support. Any citizen who needs these services could use the app. To keep the map up-to-date, community organizations will have the ability to update or add information.
  • Geoenabling BC’s Official Places in Twitter: In BC, neighbourhoods, municipalities, and significant geographic features, such as mountains, rivers, and lakes have official names which are pinpointed geographically by lines of longitude and latitude. The project team wants to create a Twitter #hashtag for every official place in BC.  Why? Because when there is a flood or other emergency, Emergency Management BC (EMBC) sends out advisories by Twitter. If there was a #hashtag for each feature, EMBC could add a #hashtag to better pinpoint the location of the emergency.
  • Map of Development and Liquor License Applications in Victoria: People living in the municipality of Victoria will be able to enter an address and search for development and liquor license applications within a chosen radius (e.g. two km from address). They will also have the option to receive notifications of new applications by email.
  • Mapit Canada: In the UK, Mapit is a database and web service. People can input a postal code or a point such as  latitude and longitude and the app will map surrounding administrative polygons, such as municipal boundaries. The project team is working on a Mapit for Canada.
  • Geocoding BC School Locations and Test Results: A map where people can see how students scored on standardized exams such as the Grade 12 Standardized Biology Exam.
  • Nanaimo Business Registration: The City of Nanaimo provides open data on business registrations. This project is working on mapping and visualizing the following variables: type of business, age of business, location of business, and number of changes in businesses at an address.
  • Exploring the BC Health System: Google Fusion Tables were used to visualize trends over the last 10 years related to general practitioners, using Medical Services Plan (MSP) payment data recently released on DataBC.
  • Visualization of MSP Payments by Practitioners: Visualization of the percentage of MSP payments by type of practitioner such as general practice, radiology, cardiology, etc.

We’re really impressed with how committed the open data community is to using data, from DataBC or elsewhere to inform and help the community. And these are just the projects from the Victoria hackathon. Tomorrow, we’ll report back with what happened in at the Vancouver event which Hon. Minister MacDiarmid attended. Stay tuned for more!

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