Data.gov.ru Hackathon Selected the Best Application and the Best Data Visualization Idea

29 june 2015

The first federal contest for active representatives of technological and creative communities - Data.gov.ru Hackathon – was held at the Analytical Center on June 26 and 27. Teams of experts from various data analysis and software development sectors – programmers, designers, managers, and journalists – analyzed open data for addressing a variety of issues.

“Key conditions for participating in Data.gov.ru Hackathon are that an application or a service should use open governmental data from Open Data Russia Portal, data.gov.ru, be completely created at Hackathon, and not be a development of an already existing software product,” reminded to participants Vasily Pushkin, Deputy Head of the Analytical Center and facilitator of the event.

“The efficiency of this contest is the fact that teams have an opportunity to communicate with direct mentors who possess unique information about open data. Based on such communication, new products are created and may turn into startups”, clarified Yuri Linkov, a co-facilitator of the event, Head of the Information Accessibility and Transparency Department of Gosbook CJSC.

Alexei Khersontsev, Chairman of the Jury, Head of the Department of Governmental Regulation in the Economy at the Ministry of Economic Development of Russia, told how the project idea came about. “In 2012, we adopted a systemic approach in our work, - he said. – The Ministry of Economic Development and the Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications decided to do it on a regular basis so that an information disclosure culture is formed in government bodies.” The federal governmental Open Data Portal was launched last year. There exist regional websites too. “The society believes our government is a closed one and discloses little information, which is not the case, noted Mr. Khersontsev. The federal portal alone has over 2,200 data sets and they are all different. More and more new interesting updates have been appearing recently”.

Welcoming participants of the contest, Andrew Scott, a software expert of the World Bank, said: “I noticed an interesting thing: representatives of various ministers took part in the Hackathon. This is right, because they publish their own data”. In his opinion, it is very important to ensure accurate interaction between users and providers of information. In addition, Andrew Scott emphasized visual data, so work with open data should focus on visualization.

After the official part, participants were divided into teams representing various regions of the country and began a two-day “brainstorming”. The teams formed their ideas, communicated with mentors, and developed software products. At night, Hackathon Movie (film show) and a mini table tennis tournament were arranged for the contestants. Work on the project resumed in the morning.

Vsevolod Rymar, the winner of the Moscow Hackathon arranged by the Government of Moscow, shared his experience of participating in the contest and highlighted the importance of the high-quality preparation of a project presentation to be evaluated by the Expert Jury. Comparing the federal contest with previous Hackathons, Ivan Frost, Manager of the Open Data Project of the Government of Moscow, noted some positive trends: in his opinion, the market of mobile applications has started to develop in Russia. “The quality of idea presentation and service production improves rapidly. Besides, developers are focused on large services bringing benefits to people,” said the expert. Mr. Frost also said that Hackathon traditionally had two goals – meeting colleagues and creating an idea that would be developed further and have commercial success.

Expert Jury evaluated participants’ projects based on three criteria: project idea, its implementation, and the quality of supporting materials.

Expert Jury selected the following winners based on the evaluation results:

·        No source no drain team for Comparison of Attraction Centers for Real Bicycle Riders and Location of Bicycle Paths and Bicycle Rentals in the Best Data Visualization Category.

·        Much Memes Team for People’s Audit of Prices in Pharmacies – Zhalobin in the Best Application Category.

·        Alexander Kukushkin for Parktron Route Visualization in the Government of Moscow’s Special Category.

·        WildCat team for Auditor Webservice (financial statements and audits of legal entities by governmental authorities) in the Internet Initiative Development Foundation’s Special Category.

·        BMSTU miners for OpenDataSearcher (full text search and context visualization in open data) in Gosbook’s Special Category.

The event was originally initiated by the Ministry of Economic Development of Russia. Data.gov.ru Hackathon was organized by the Analytical Center for the Government of the Russian Federation jointly with Gosbook CJSC. Representatives of the Ministry of Economic Development of Russia, the Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications, the Information Technology Department of Moscow, the Open Government, the Internet Initiative Development Foundation, the World Bank, the Open City Foundation, the Ministry of Labor of Russia, the Ministry of Health of Russia, and the Federal Tax Service joined the contest as jury members, speakers, and mentors. Informational sponsors of Data.gov.ru Hackathon: Dr.Web, MLCLASS, and Teleform IS LLC.