Top idea from Baltimore Fishackathon: mobile app for West African fishermen - Baltimore


Jun. 19, 2014 10:40 am

Top idea from Baltimore Fishackathon: mobile app for West African fishermen

The project was one of five national finalists to emerge from the U.S. State Department's weekend event. The Baltimore team ultimately lost out to a group from New York.

Hackers listen to remarks Friday before getting to work at the overnight Fishackathon.

(Photo courtesy of the National Aquarium)

A Baltimore group was one of five finalists in the national Fishackathon, a hackathon held last weekend at the National Aquarium and four others across the country.

The Baltimore group aimed to develop a mobile app for West African fishermen.

The app would be able to send registration and licensing requests for their boats, report illegal activities and request emergency assistance.

“The major challenge of the production of this application will be to design and develop a very simple and friendly interface to facilitate the interactivity between fishers and national or regional Technical Staff,” the group wrote in their proposal. “But the considerable progresses that have been recently made in some West African coastal countries constitute favorable conditions to facilitate the process.”

The group, along with the other four finalists, made presentations during a Google Hangout on Tuesday organized by the U.S. Department of State, the Fishackathon’s sponsor.

The Baltimore team lost in the finals to a New York group.

Laura Bankey, the National Aquarium’s director of conservation, said roughly 25 designers turned out for the overnight hackathon.

“They stayed with us for a while but at the very, very end there were about 15 people left standing,” she said. “There was one [group] revolving around the Philippines and, in particular, trying to catch the catch data. Basically trying to figure out how to capture the numbers and types of fish that are caught through artisanal fisheries, which is a bulk of what is caught in the Philippines.”

The Baltimore event was one of five Fishackathon events held last weekend. Hackathons also took place in Silicon Valley, New York, Boston and Miami. All were sponsored by the U.S. State Department ahead of the annual Our Ocean Conference, held this week.

Tyler Waldman

Tyler Waldman is a contributor for Baltimore. A Towson University graduate and former local editor for, Tyler has also written and photographed for publications including the Baltimore Brew, Howard County Times and Towson Times. He lives in Charles Village.

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