From AppsForGhent to AppsFor…?

316567922_640This Saturday 23/03 I had the chance, to attend the “Apps for Ghent” event organized by the chapter of Open Knowledge Foundation Belgium and other partners (the City of Ghent, iMinds, Ghent Web Valley and Ghent Living lab). The event was organized in a fitting combination of speeches and inspiration sessions related to Open Data in parallel to a hackathon. Actually, it was not the first time, but already the third time that “Apps for Ghent” was organized and it was once again a great success! Corresponding events are organized in other cities, too.

The hackathon dominated the event. The central idea was the (re-)use of the available Open public Data to implement new applications that would be beneficial, meaningful or just fun for the people of Ghent. The hackathon was rather successful as there were 15 teams participating. They all brought creative ideas regarding possible application combining different Open Data sets in the field of energy, smart cities and tourism. The resulting applications were pretty interesting!

Different prices were awarded. The local jury rewarded Sumocoders for their application “Hoe druk is’t?”, a web application that informs the user regarding how busy are different districts of the city. The second award was awarded to 9K for their application 9K builder, an application which aims to activate citizens’ participation in urban development. The international jury where I participated awarded pharmaApp, an Android application aiming to help you find the nearest pharmacy from your current location. It was implemented by second year students of the Computer Science department and, as it was the one selected from the international jury due to its potential broader applicability, will have the chance to present its application to Apps for Flanders and Apps for Europe.

It is great pleasure to have members of OKFN Greece participating in events organized by other OKFN chapters. This way, OKFN Greece, which leads the “opening” of public data in Greece, gets inspiration for each own actions. Nowadays many Greek public Data sets are published as Open Data. This does not mean that the goal was reached. Even though the effort to open more and more data should remain the primary milestone, the focus should also be posed a bit further. It is great to have Open Data but it is even better if we find also means to get their full potential, namely to further explore the opportunities raised by opening the data. It’s about time to start consuming them! Applications build on top of the Open Data should be set as the uppermost goal of the initiative. At the end, taking into consideration the Apps for Ghent, it seems that implementing applications using Open Data isn’t that difficult!

OKFN Greece promotes and strengthens every initiative related to Open Data. May this “Apps for Ghent” event inspire Greek chapter and let’s see towards our series of “Apps for Thessaloniki”, “Apps for Athens”, “Apps for Veroia” etc. events. To this end, let’s enable local authorities to open more of their public data, and let’s use these data to build applications that would return to us more. Thessaloniki is a city with long history of successful festivities; wouldn’t that be great to have these data open as Ghent is looking to further promote its Open Data on the occasion of its festivities?

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