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Open Data Challenge 2018: The monthlong data jam winds down

New challenges and a new format have Open Data Delaware breaking new ground.

Ryan Harrington speaks at the Open Data Challenge kickoff in April 2018. (Courtesy photo)

Open Data Delaware tried something different for this year’s Open Data Challenge: Instead of a two-day hackathon, they slowed things down and gave teams a full month to develop their projects, in what is now called a data jam.

With the data jam closing on Tuesday, May 8 from 6–8 p.m. at Theatre N, we’ll finally get to see the results of the projects that began on April 7, when coders and community members convened at UD’s Evans Hall to team up to use open data to help improve recreational accessibility in Delaware with partners DelDot and the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC).

Open Data Delaware cofounder and CompassRed data scientist Ryan Harrington didn’t give away any of the projects in development when we chatted recently, but he did say that the projects were expected to be more fully-realized when presented at the finals event.

“Overall, it’s been good,” he said. “We had 12 teams at kickoff; there’s been some evolving and splitting of the teams. One team dropped out, but we have the same number of teams as when we started.”

The teams have been working on a wide array of projects, all looking to make transportation and recreation easier in the state. Which means making it more accessible to people with disabilities, but it’s even broader than that.

“I’ve definitely expanded my definition of ‘accessibility,'” Harrington said. Other factors in making transportation and recreation accessible include things like how easy it is to get around for tourists and out-of-towners.

Teams have spent the last month working together, sometimes in person, sometimes remotely, and are encouraged (but not required) to attend Code & Coffee and Newark Codes events. While the vast majority of participants live in or near Delaware, remote participants come from as far away as Washington State.

Some $35,000 in grants will be awarded this year. Unlike last year, where winners received half of the money up front and the other half when the project was completed, winners will receive the full amount right away.

The closing event is free and open to the public. Click here to RSVP.

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