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Bath: Hacked

Open data is a hot topic in the news at the moment with the EU dedicating 14 million euros to support the cause across the whole of Europe. It shouldn’t come as a surprise then, that within the UK’s technological hub that is Bath, a whole weekend has been spent developing new projects and raising awareness of open data. Bath: Hacked was a competition hosted by the Bath Digital Festival that required teams to create varied projects utilising open data with the aim of helping the public.

Not many people are aware of open data, or how to use it, it is information that is available for everyone at no cost and for any purpose. The Bath: Hacked weekend was all about bringing the resource to public knowledge whilst finding innovative uses for the information that’s freely available. The event lasted 36 hours and took the shape of a friendly competition; inspiring the teams to create whatever project they felt promoted the use of open data the best, whether a website, program, app or infographic. The theme of the competition was ‘past, present or future’ involving Bath’s historical, existing and prospective data. The teams were encouraged to make their projects exciting, engaging and fun; the ultimate goal was to connect to people through open data.

The event brought together people from all areas of the digital industry, in some instances pairing up strangers who shared the same interest. There were experienced hackers from the previous competition taking part as well as some new faces, and throughout the event there were ‘data curators’ and hacking helpers on hand. By the presentations and awards ceremony on Sunday evening there was a real feel of community spirit, with everyone coming together to celebrate what people had achieved over the weekend.

Altogether there were seven awards to be won with the judges handing out the prizes. Winning the Heritage and History award were Sophie Drake and Andrew Page with their project ‘History Bath’, a website that provides a timeline to all the different plaques around Bath. The City Life award was presented to Adam Reynolds for his charting website that has already helped a local business find potential customers. The project to win the Better Bath award was ‘Exposé’, a website that helps the public discover what the local government is spending money on, and gives them the ability to provide feedback. The Best Shipped Project award went to Miles Armstrong and Felix Renicks for their website ‘Eat a Food’ that made picking a place to eat a whole lot easier. Jesse Stewart and Karolis Danilevicius obtained three awards for their website that assists parents to navigate their way through applying to local schools; they won the Hacker’s Choice, The Grand Prize and the Best First Timer awards.

After such an impressive array of projects, that have remained live after the event, and a fantastic turn out to the presentations the future for Bath: Hacked and open data is looking positive. Look forward to the next hacking event as open data continues to make a difference and help make this a smarter city.

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