Regina: capital of both Saskatechewan and the Rider Nation, home to Reginans and, now, also home to Open Data.
We were inspired by this and imported their Points of Interest data set into Placeling to create the ultimate park explorer: citizens can now find a nearby park, playground, hockey rink, etc. on either the web or on their iPhone.
Here’s a screenshot of it on the web:
And here’s a screenshot from the iPhone version:
So Reginans, again, congrats on the Open Data portal. Now get outside and explore your beautiful city using Placeling!
And, if you release more public data that you’d love to see on a map (hint: historical sites and public art with descriptions), let us know and we’ll put it in Placeling for you.
On Saturday, Team Placeling took part in an Open Data Hackathon here in BC. Many of you will - quite rightfully - be wondering: what is open data? And what’s a hackathon?
Let’s start with Open Data. All of us pay taxes to various governments in return for them delivering services. In the process of providing these services, governments generate a lot of data. Since our taxes paid for this data to be created, we should have access to it.
And access is important; it lets the private sector use the data to provide services the government might not. Here are some examples for you:
So that’s Open Data, what about the hackathon part? Here a bunch of people who like coding get together and write an app in a few hours. The goal is to ship something new before the end of the hackathon.
Which brings us to Saturday.
And BTW, iQmetrix’s offices may have the best views in all of Vancouver:
So what did we spend the hackathon doing?
Well, we like the idea of being able to find public art around you. You can do that with Placeling now, but we wanted to take it a bit further:
Turns out we’re not the only ones who think this is an interesting problem. We found some great hackers in Brent Vatne and Marc Irawan plus product talent in Josh Sorokin, Lucas and others and we set out to code.
We hit upon a few problems right away:
But this isn’t a post about what doesn’t work - as mentioned earlier you’ve got to ship something during a hackathon. And, thanks to the tireless work of Ian, Marc & Brent, we did.
You can go to VanArtNear.Me and it’ll pull up all the nearby public art, sorted by distance and pull in photos from Instagram and Flickr. Since it’s running in your browser, it’s cross-platform. And in the spirit of Open Data, all the source code is up at GitHub.
Sometimes, like with Gate to the Northwest Passage, you’ll get additional photos of the art:
Other times - like with The Discus Thrower - there’s little connection; it’s still a fun way to explore the city.
It was a great time and we had a blast meeting a bunch of other inspired Open Data advocates and seeing what they built.
We’ll see y’all at the next one!