Bristol Open Data Hack Day Kicks Off

So here we all are at the Colston Hall for the open data hack day we’re putting on in conjunction with Bristol City Council.

There’s a great atmosphere in the room, the event sold out and we’ve just come up with a load of ideas for what data to work on and what could be done with it.

So far, the groups seem to be forming around;

  • doing more with the Your Freedom Dialogue data the government has now released, especially making the data more simple to understand. However, my favourite so far is a widget that will turn all the ideas into Haiku, and then allow people to vote on their favourite Haiku, then compare that with the votes for original ideas.
  • doing more with Bristol City Council data on shopping trollies dumped in rivers, open data whose existence surprised some at the council itself!
  • focussing on water quality data, and perhaps developing a generic interface for commenting on the quality of the data in return.
  • looking at Bristol bus data, perhaps a web app that makes knowing where the nearest bus is and when it’ll turn up. Much needed still, if you’ve ever seen the First Bus website for this city…

We’re here in the Colston Hall all day, so if you’re around, drop by and say hello!

If not, then we’re tweeting under #bristolhackday, and will be blogging more too…

UPDATE 11:15 – an idea’s come up to turn ideas in Your Freedom into Koan (yes, I had to look it up too). Rather amusing when you think about it…

UPDATE 12:50 – So, where are well up to then? Well, over on the table dealing with the Your Freedom data, Rich is doing the legwork of turning the ideas into their useful components, removing words like ‘the’ for example, whilst Jess has found a really rather cool semantic analysis tool to use.

Elsewhere, the team looking at Bristol bus information have their user stories nailed down, and a plan for what their app should do, namely locate where you are using GPS, allow you to enter where you want to go, and the app will show you your nearest bus stop and the time of the next bus. Genius stuff, the sort of thing you wonder why it hasn’t been done already.

The only problem of the day so far? Some of the lights in the Colston Hall go off automatically when they don’t sense movement for a while, so people need to stop to wave their arms every now and again.

If that’s the worst thing that’s come up so far, then we’re onto a good thing.

UPDATE 13:11 – Meanwhile, Dan Lewis is taking House of Commons Debate data and feeding it into an auto-tagging service. He’s then going to hook that into news feeds to see how quickly MPs respond to the local news. Top stuff.

UPDATE 15:50 – Loads of great stuff still going on. Libby’s put together two great visual user stories for the Bus times and locations app, here’s one user story, and here’s the other user story.

Andy’s blogged some photos from the event so far too here.

Meanwhile, turning the Your Freedom data set into haiku is proving both awesome and hilarious. We’ll share the best ones with you in a bit, as well as a round up of where we’ve got to at the end of the day! Time flies when you’re having fun…

UPDATE 16:00 – Having conquered haiku, the Your Freedom data project is about to move on to turning the dataset into limericks.

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