City of Waterloo Codefest a hit for the community
Waterloo - With just 36 hours to create a functioning mobile application and only three minutes to present their product, three teams were selected as the winners of Waterloo Codefest. “Codefest brought together industry professionals with some of the biggest names in technology,” said Mayor Dave Jaworsky. “This collaboration and spirit of discovery resulted in some impressive mobile apps.”
Taking the top prize of $1,500 and a year’s worth of cloud infrastructure (a value of $6,500) was Timber. Created by two Sir John A. Macdonald high school students and a first-year University of Waterloo student, this application connects residents with their environment by mapping the city’s tree canopy one tree at a time. Using the city’s street trees and city boundary data sets, it allows citizens to monitor the health of trees and report trees that may be in distress. It also educates residents about the types of trees planted across the city and identifies the difference between a city-owned tree and a privately owned tree. Judges awarded this application top marks for its use of Waterloo-specific data and how easily citizens can relate to it.
City Tracker took the second place prize of $1,000. This application tracks city neighbourhoods to highlight the disparity between lower income and higher income housing. The creators felt the application would support the mitigation of gentrification and allow city officials to monitor the health of neighbourhoods. The data sets used for this application included building permits and household income by census dissemination area. They also used census dissemination area boundaries from StatsCAn and crime reports by location from Waterloo Regional Police Services. The app was built on ArcGIS, Esri Canada’s geographic information system (GIS). This mapping and visualization technology is used by the City of Waterloo to store and serve up its open data.
The third place prize of $500 was awarded to NearbEYE, an application that identifies the points of interest in immediate proximity. These points include everything from public art, historical buildings and recreation facilities, to galleries, hotels, parks, malls and more. Users simply swipe up and down on their smartphone to read the details about each point of interest and the best way to travel to that point. The data sets used for this application included parks, outdoor rinks, sports fields and diamonds, playgrounds, public art, places of worship, urban design awards and points of interest.
The City of Waterloo looks forward to working with the winning teams to promote and support the further development of their applications. “Each team owns the intellectual property of their creation,” said Justin McFadden, executive director of economic development for the City of Waterloo. “We see great potential and are excited to see these applications being used by the community at large.”
Participants camped out at the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI). They were treated to great food provided by City of Waterloo food services, Gusto Catering, Taco Farm, Vincenzo’s, Zoup, Sunshine Pizza and Y Café. Participants also enjoyed several creative breaks including a mingling train, ukulele lessons, a balloon installation, 3D paper crafts, a trading card sketch artist, colouring books and button making, a scavenger hunt, and an online amazing race. More than 20 companies came together to sponsor the event, offering just under $30,000 in sponsorship dollars, prizes and donations. All participants
went home with BlackBerry backpacks, BlackBerry lawn chairs, Sorbara Law baseball caps, Capital One mugs, Esri Canada pens, and more.
The City of Waterloo would like to thank title sponsor SAP and Esri Canada for mentoring the participants throughout the 36 hour event. We would also like to thank the following sponsors for their part in making Waterloo Codefest a huge success:
• University of Waterloo
• Wilfrid Laurier University
• Capital One
• Conestoga College
• Canadian Data Open Exchange
• OVH Group
• Sorbara Law
• Western Union Business Solutions
• Westmount Signs
• Oxygen Group
• Lexington Park
• Esri Canada
Finally, our thanks to all eight judges who had the toughest part of all choosing only three winning applications. Thank you to:
• Dave Jaworsky, Mayor of the City of Waterloo
• Amaris Gerson, lead organizer of HackerNest KW
• Sarah McMullin, director of emerging technology, SAP
• Stephen Watt, dean of mathematics, University of Waterloo
• Kartik Talwar, director, Hack the North
• Geoff Sullivan, director, business development, CloudA
• Bryan Peters, director, product and marketing, Miovision
• Dr. Chinh Hoang, professor, physics and computer science, Wilfrid Laurier University
This City of Waterloo open data initiative is an objective within the corporate excellence goal of the 2015-2018 strategic plan. It further supports the United Nation’s newly mandated sustainable development goals of a global community where all levels of government are open, transparent and accountable to the members of their community.