Open Data Hackathon February 2013

On February the 23rd the datalove university group participated in a global Hackathon centered around Open Data. We gathered within a room at the university and worked on different projects all day. At peak level we were around 17 people: university students and personnel, students by the university of applied sciences and local politicians. We organized enough food, coffee and stuff for everyone and spent a nice day working on many different projects. Mainly to highlight:

  • Falco worked on updating the LiveMap, which we have created about two years ago in an 48hr hackathon. For most of us this had been the first bigger node.js project and so it was time to correct some faulties. To paraphrase Stefan: “While looking for better ways on how to do such a project, I only found other people who forked our stuff.” Well, we are not entirely certain, if that is a good thing ;).

    Some Open Data activists from Cologne are currently adapting the project to their city: schienenliebe.de. It is always very nice to see other people being able to build upon your work!

  • Benjamin took use of the shape files (= geodata of local city districts) for Ulm. We gathered this data under a free license about two years ago, but never had any use for them — until now!
    Check out Click that ‘hood!
  • I took the time to work on an idea which I had in mind for a long time: visualizing different facilities within Ulm which are currently open, on a web based map. This can be used to e.g. find out which bakeries in the inner city are still open on a Saturday evening. The application is online via oeffnungszeiten.ulmapi.de.

    The opening hours data is gathered from the Open Street Map project. I plan to regularly export it from there, although I first have to manually correct some of the entries, since not all of them are valid. I also plan to add new opening hour entries to the map, though I am not yet entirely sure about how to approach that.

  • Stefan is working on visualizing the household budget of Ulm. The respective data has been made available to the public under CC-BY in the meantime. If you have any knowledge on Doppik calculations, I am sure he would appreciate help!
  • Some friends were brainstorming about network visualizations considering the university. When I heard of the idea I was quite enthusiastic and went to talk to the local network administrators. As a result we got a nice data treasure: sanitized log data of all (~360) access points on the university terrain over the duration of one week. Under ODbL v1.0. _This_ is quite nice. The data is available here. I spent nearly all of the Hackathon writing a parser for the data. When you have 76 MB ASCII stuff (> 500 000 entries) a database is worth it. In the meantime the parser is finished but we are still missing geolocations for the access points. For this purpose I wrote a very simple web application to crowd-source the process of collecting geolocations for all access points. But this (and the resulting visualizations) are material enough for one separate blog post, once the project is finished!

The sourcecode for most of the projects described is available online via GitHub, either on github.com/UlmApi or on github.com/cmichi.

Category: OpenData, Unilife

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About Me

I am a 32 year old techno-creative enthusiast who lives and works in Berlin. In a previous life I studied computer science (more specifically Media Informatics) at the Ulm University in Germany.

I care about exploring ideas and developing new things. I like creating great stuff that I am passionate about.


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