Hackathon prize for MMU student

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THE winners of the inaugural open data Manchester Hackathon have been announced – and they include MMU Computer Science student Bilawal Hameed.

An MMU Computer Science student has won the Best Under 21’s Creation category at the recent open data Manchester Hackathon. Nineteen-year-old Bilawal Hameed won the £600 prize for his Bus Tracker app, which allows you to find the nearest bus stop to you, directs you to it and then gives you the times and destinations of the next bus due.

Six cash prizes were awarded at the inaugural hackathon – a day of coding, hacking and software development organised by FutureEverything, Open Data Manchester and Manchester City Council – which took place at Madlab on Saturday 17 November.

The main, £4600 prize was won by Data Crossfader, created by James Rutherford and Ashley Herriott. This visualisation tool plots information on a map of Manchester to allow people to compare important sets of data. For example, using postcode details it shows the locations of road traffic incidents on a map, and then adds where speed cameras are, so if there is a particular area where accidents happen which are not covered by a camera, it easily shows that on a map.

Dave Carter, one of the judges and head of Manchester Digital Development Agency (MDDA) said: “We chose Data Crossfader because it has incredible potential to simply illustrate data on a map which allows comparisons to be made to show where action needs to be taken. All the judges were very impressed with all the ideas presented to us and we hope that many of them will be developed further into real applications that people can use.”

Data Crossfader will be developed further in collaboration with Manchester City Council and Open Data Manchester over the next few months.

The other winners

The other winners, who received £600 for each prize, were:

Best Visualisation and Developers Prize (voted for by everyone taking part in the Hackathon) went to John Rees for his app Sat Lav, which points you to the nearest public toilet including those in shops and bars which allow the public to use.

Best Locative Application went to Matt Schofield for his Taxi Rank Finder app. Matt’s app shows the nearest taxi rank to you and directs you to it. It also shows if it is a marshalled rank and its opening times.

Best Solution for an Identified Problem was won by Slawomir Wdowka and Imran Younis for their Manchester Voice. This allows the public to submit ideas to the council, then checks records to see if other people have made the same suggestion. When an idea is developed it would allow the public to vote on it.

Councillor Nigel Murphy, Manchester City Council’s lead member for Digital Manchester and Executive Member for Environment, said: “This Hackathon event is just the first part of an ongoing challenge to ensure that Manchester is in the front rank of open data-friendly cities. Manchester City Council is committed to being an open and transparent council but this event is not just about us but also our public sector partners who are also embracing open data. Together with partner agencies, we’ve been showcasing more than 120 different datasets.

“It’s vital that this is not just a one-off event but an ongoing engagement with the developer community to ensure that we build upon what’s been achieved. More and bigger events are planned in 2013.”