#CyberFLASH: Federal government uses CODE2015 to boost open data’s profile in Canada

CODE-2015_featureThe federal government kicked off its promotion of an open data hackathon in Toronto on Wednesday night, encouraging people to use publicly available data provided by government departments to build new apps.

Now in its second year, the Canadian Open Data Experience (CODE) hackathon is targeted towards students, entrepreneurs, programmers, developers, and graphic designers. Participants will have two days to come up with a creative mobile app using open data sets provided by the federal government, with an eye to helping youth, commerce, or to improving quality of life. The contest kicks off Feb. 20 and runs until Feb. 22, coinciding with International Open Data Day on Feb. 21.

Last year, more than 900 participants competed in the hackathon, so the organizers are hoping for an even bigger turnout this time around. But more importantly, they’re trying to highlight what people can do with open data, said Ray Sharma, founder of Toronto’s XMG Studio Inc. and one of the main organizers of CODE2015.

“Every government agency, we’re talking fisheries, we’re talking defense, we’re talking immigration, we’re talking StatsCan, every regulatory body – can you imagine the data that exists?… Do you see why that’s exciting?” Sharma said, adding there’s a vein of untapped potential in all of that data. He’s especially excited about the prospect of bringing research publications online.

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