Very cool 24 hours. At 6:30 yesterday evening several of us kicked off the Vermont Open Data Hackathon. By buddy Tim and MWG owners the Tarrant brothers generously offered the use of their beautiful work space in the Champlain Mill for 24 hours of hard-core hacking on the topic of Open Data. The idea was to build some killer apps for the state of Vermont. We had about 114 folks sing up in 32 teams. Some worked alone, some in teams with as many as 5 folks.. Some were seasoned pros, others were college students.. we even had one 19 year old guy working on his own. In order to spur innovation, there were few rules. The only requirement was that it made use of one or more sources of open data and that it made Vermont a more livable place.

The very cool thing about this hackathon was that it aligned with (and in some ways sprung from) a project I’m doing at work on Open Data..  I was one of the panel of judges for the event.. and felt honored to have been asked.   At 6:30 Tim and I gave a short intro to the challenge and the rules for judging.. then they were off !. It was so inspiring to see all these folks coding for 24 hours in order to give back to our state..


GO !!!!

By 6 pm there was already pizza that had been donated..

Of course, there was a generous supply of redbull..  a necessary programming tool

I stayed only until 12:30 last night.. I wasn’t competing, so I got the chance to sleep !  Things got pretty weird as the night went on

Hey Andrea !!

junk food wrappers started to show up everywhere !. A sign of good, hard thinking !

at 12:30 there was a break for ice cream and burritos..   again.. all donate.. by Ben and jerry’s and bullacos

I came back in around 2 this afternoon .. folks were still hard at it.. they looked sleepy, but happy !

It was very cool looking out unto the winoski that was swollen from all  of last nights rain .

then it was over.. and time for the judging to begin.. All the teams lined up.. all 32 of them.. each had to make a 3 minute intro talk./demo . that’s not much time !

the suspense was great !

here’s our team of crack judges ,.

here goes one of the first talks.. this is my buddy Sam S. from Lab-B.

we even had one group do hardware ..   this is a traffic sensor

it was hard choosing from all the projects.. in the end we gave out 3 honorable mentions..

then the best university project..

then 3rd place..   an app for helping choose the best place to live in the state based on a a variety of open data sources.

then 2nd  place. a tool for comparing VT towns based on a set of metrics

finally, first place… a great app for visualizing a time line of the lifetime of commercial enterprises over the year..  that used local historical business records and map data

then it was time for folks to pack up.. they were a tired bunch !

speakign of tired, I can’t keep my eyes open..

Thanks to all th organizers, contestants, and judges for making this open data hackathon such a big success.
this is the start of something very good for the state of vermont.. !
more tomorrow about the land trust dinner this evening..
nite all, note sam

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