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Auckland Civic Hackathon launched

You may remember that late last year we held a competition in conjunction with Auckland Transport to suggest and vote on some quick and easy ideas. The idea that achieved the most votes (28) was about opening up real time data to developers.

Well the fantastic news is that it’s going to happen. AT have been creating APIs for many of their data streams are going to open then up a civic hackathon they will be hosting called HACKAKL: Transport. It appears to be intended to be the first step for Auckland in opening up increasing amounts of civic data.

Welcome to HACKAKL:Transport, Auckland’s first civic hacking event. This is an open invitation to designers, software developers, architects, activists, innovators or anyone who wants to be involved to participate in a weekend of ‘hacking for good’.

In what we hope is the first of many, this event seeks to establish a community of innovators and developers who are interested in making an ongoing contribution to civic solutions that leverage open government data, from both regional and national sources. This is about thinking differently and leveraging the power of a community and creative problem solving.

If we are successful, not only will we have some cool ideas and creative solutions, but more importantly, we will have formed a community (HACKAKL) within a community (Auckland and New Zealand) that is willing to own the ‘civic hacking for good’ agenda going forward.

To give us some focus, the theme for this inaugural event is transport. Take a look at the challenges page for inspiration on the types of problems we could help solve. Keep visiting this page as we will continue to provide more information to contextualise the issues as we are approved to share it.

The mission of this weekend is multifaceted. Our goals include:

  • Providing an opportunity for personal development and network building
  • Enabling innovation for greater good
  • Support the evolution and democratisation of open government data
  • Supporting the government STEM agenda – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
  • Creating a new community and its self governance going forward

This event is for and about those that participate. You can choose to take a known challenge or render your own solution based on the data sets you think will bring value to the wider community in some new useful form.

They’ve also created a series of challenges they’re hoping to solve.

Public transport

  • Intuitive journey planning that allows users to leave at the last minute and navigate while on the move
  • The relationship between public transport and attractions/destinations
  • Ease of use for first time users and tourists
  • User loyalty and gamification of public transport
  • The linkage of walking, cycling and public transport as part of an overall journey
  • Helping commuters compare real costs of driving vs public transport
  • Journey safety

Walking and cycling

  • Journey planning
  • Safe routes
  • Promotion of cycling and walking as an alternative to driving
  • Linkages with public transport

Parking

  • User awareness of parking restrictions and cost in any given location
  • Availability and demand management

Driving

  • Journey planning and congestion
  • Roadworks and disruptions

I’m really looking forward to seeing some of the neat ideas you developers can come up with.

So if you’re interested go and register at http://hackakl.org.nz/

Oh and good on AT for doing this.

13 comments to Auckland Civic Hackathon launched

  • Just a note: even if you are not a developer you should still go to the Hackathon event.

    This picture http://voakl.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/should-i-go-hack-akl.jpg gives good enough reasons to go developer or not.

    • George

      Great flowchart!

      AT deserve congratulations for doing this, as Matt mentions. Open and participatory government can only lead to a better Auckland.

      • That it does.

        It gets a tad lonely trundling up to Town Hall for the Auckland Development Committee meetings that are held monthly. Unless something major was on the agenda its usually just Bob Dey and myself at the media table while officers fill up the public gallery

  • James B

    If anyone has a good idea and needs a developer to help them out I’ll put my hand up. I’m in the middle of a Graduate Diploma in Computer Science and looking for a coding project to pop on my C.V.

    • Well I was planning on going as an advocate (I’m not a developer) to hopefully see what comes out of it. Lots of stuff I’d love to see be created so if a group of developers wants to help me do that then would love to work with them on it.

  • Saw this posted a few days back: http://www.reddit.com/r/auckland/comments/2012qv/i_redesigned_the_auckland_transport_app_let_me/

    My 2c:

    My general usage would revolve around the following:

    Use case 1: I want to get a get from where I am now, to place B (typed or pin-dropped) Tell me the options, show me the actual routes, let me easily switch between modes and options.
    Use case 2: I’m waiting for the Link to Newmarket from britomart. It’s late, as usual, a 644 has just pulled up and a 766 is due in two minutes. What route do they follow to Remuera and Meadowbank? Show me on a map so I can decide if they get me close enough to where I need to be.
    Bonus: Tie this in with the in-app Real time board.
    Google maps do these reasonably well, to the point that I have not used the AT app in a long time.
    Use case 3: I’m having amazing sweet and sour pork in Kingsland and I’ll be bussing home because the trains aren’t running this weekend. Give me the real time board of the nearest city bound bus stop(s) so I can know when to leave (without me having to spend 17 years finding the bus stop number). so I don’t have to stand at a barren bus stop for 25 minutes.
    Edit: Google now does this, but doesn’t mix in the real time board.
    These are my day-to-day issues, it’s not hard. I’ve been meaning to mock something up for ages, life gets in the way….

    Might go along, I don’t really hit mark 3 on that voakl chart >_>

    • Chris Werry (@chriswerry)

      A variation on use case 3. Remember my favourite route. Tell me how long till the next departure from the nearest stop relative to my current location. Show me the real time board too. This Devonport Ferry app works like this and I use it a lot https://itunes.apple.com/app/id731295787.

    • TimR

      The reddit comments raise an interesting key question: have API’s been cleared for use showing real-time bus, train, ferry locations….?

      I’m not expecting a yes to that, for the single reason that it would put an end to that “99.9% of buses run to time” performance reporting nonsense. But I also think that would be one of the most powerful offerings from AT into the hackathon.

      Anyone at AT able to comment on what will be available?

  • simple change to maxx would help.
    I am I want to go to show me the next busses that will get me there. currently the site groups by route number… who cares what number bus you take as long as it gets you there! Now tie that in with reality based bus ETA and it would be golden

  • (this is not an echo; greater than and less than signs are treated as html… so I try again)
    simple change to maxx would help.
    I am [here] I want to go to [there] show me the list of buses that will get me there.
    Currently the site groups by route number… who cares what number bus you take as long as it gets you there! Now tie that in with reality based bus ETA and it would be golden.

  • Molly Woppy

    One for my other half (who has recently begun to use the NEX and transfers) – what is the best time to catch the NEX to get to a station with minimal wait for a connector. Hopefully will be unnecessary once the new network rolls out but at the moment, if he times it wrong, he has to wait 40 minutes!

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