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Open data movers and shakers join hackathon


A record number of 125 apps were created using federal open datasets as part of the Canadian Open Data Experience (CODE), a 48-hour hackathon held between February 20th – February 22nd, 2015 across the country.

CODE challenged innovators from coast to coast to coast to unleash their creativity to solve some of Canada’s most pressing issues by using open data sets available at Open.canada.ca. Jointly envisioned and hosted by the hackathon experts at XMG Studio Inc. and the Government of Canada, more than 1303 tech enthusiasts competed for the chance to present their application at the CODE Grand Finale on March 26rd, 2015, and share in $40,000 in prizes. IBM, supporter of the open data movement, provided the Commerce category sponsorship to encourage the event.

340 teams participated, with 175 competitors working from special VIP locations in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. Additional space for competitors was made available by partners including the University of Calgary, the City of Calgary and Innovate Calgary in Calgary, Citizens Code in Fredericton, Industry Canada, the Treasury Board Secretariat, Open Data Ottawa and the University of Ottawa in Ottawa, Quebec City, Capitale Ouverte and Québec Numérique in Québec City, Lambton College in Sarnia, OpenGovGear and Fort Tectoria in Victoria. Finally, 1050 competitors participated virtually, making this year’s CODE a truly national event.

“Building on the success of the inaugural CODE event, this year’s competition was outstanding,” says Tony Clement, president of the treasury board and official facilitator of CODE. “Canada’s new and emerging talents demonstrate what is possible when creativity, ability and access to federal government data align. These apps, aimed at bettering the lives of Canadians, are among the best we’ve seen.”

CODE participants focused on creating applications that use open data from the federal government as well as from other levels of government to tackle social challenges and improve service delivery across categories of youth, commerce and quality of life. This year, the three development themes for these categories were: youth employment, healthy living and creating business opportunities for Canadians.

CODE enjoys the support of many industry and government leaders, committed to encouraging the meaningful and productive use of open data. “The Canadian Open Data Experience is a great example of how talented and creative Canadians can work with government to create new applications with the potential to improve our lives”, says James Moore, Minister of Industry and CODE facilitator. “Our government knows that Canada has a wealth of talent when it comes to technology and innovation, and competitions like these lead to growth, job creation and investment in our IT sectors.”

Apps completed during the CODE event will be evaluated by a panel of judges, with the top five submissions from each category advancing to the Final 15. Apps will be judged based on user experience, use of open data and potential.

The top 15 will be announced March 6th, 2015. The top 15 teams will then be invited to Toronto on March 16th, 2015 for the CODE Pitch Day event. Team will present their ideas live to a panel of industry experts, which will be shared in video format with potential investors with the goal of helping to bring their apps to market.

Finally, prize winners will be announced March 26th, 2015 with winners accepting their prizes at the CODE Grand Finale.