Open Data is fostering innovation in UzbekistanNov 27, 2016
On November 24-27, 2016, MIT.UZ Open Data Challenge 2016, an annual contest for developing applications, services, and visualization solutions based on open data was held in Tashkent. This year, the open data hackathon, which brought together more than 130 participants, was hosted by Inha University in Tashkent.
The event was organized jointly by the Ministry for Development of Information Technologies and Communications, UNDP, "Kamolot" Civic Youth Movement, and Inha University in Tashkent. BePro Center of Programmers and Nestle Uzbekistan acted as event partners.
The main objective of the hackathon is to popularize the concept of open data in Uzbekistan and draw the attention of developers and wider public to this relatively new area of knowledge for the country. The participants were given the task to create socially important and innovative applications, messenger bots and infographics based on data available on the open data portal and official websites of government agencies of Uzbekistan.
The event contained both training and competition parts. During the first two days (November 24-25), the participants attended trainings, workshops and presentations on data journalism and visualization, data processing, lean startups methodology, design-thinking, secrets of winning hackathons.
Irina Radchenko, associate professor of St. Petersburg’s ITMO University, conducted training sessions on open data and data processing, briefed the participants on data formats, held a workshop on searching necessary data and visualizing it in the form of articles, infographics and long-reads.
“I have little prior experience in data journalism, said Aziza Akhmedova, a student of the University of World Economy and Diplomacy. I have acquired practical knowledge, covering digital diplomacy, as well as skills in writing articles and compiling long reads based on open data.”
Master classes from experts in the field of programming, as well design, promotion, marketing and sales were delivered by experienced professionals and practitioners. The sessions on data analysis in Python programming language, presentation on "Design Thinking" and solving problems using interdisciplinary and creative tools, lean startup methodology and concept of lean production were most attended.
The competitive part of the challenge took place on November 26-27. The participants were divided into teams and had to develop prototype versions of their projects in less than 2 days. The teams were couched by trainers and specially invited professional developers.
This year, the open data hackathon featured 31 teams that with the help of mentors worked on prototype of social and business applications, bots, infographics and articles based on data analysis.
The main requirement of the competition was to create a prototype of the product (application, service, infographics or article), which must be developed during MIT.UZ Open Data Challenge 2016, not before the competition. At the same time, it was allowed to use third-party libraries or modules provided that it adds value to the new solution.
On November 27 at 17:00 all hackathon projects were presented to the jury and winners were identified in following nominations.
AlphaZet team won in the 1st nomination, "Best social project based on open data (mobile or web app)", with the project "MyWay – application for car owners to check the availability of gasoline at gas stations, to check car insurance, etc.".
The winner in the 2nd nomination, "Best business project based on open data (mobile or web app)", is DigAge team that created License Analytics project, a tool to analyze and visualize open data.
The 3rd nomination, "The best visualization on the basis of open data (article and infographics)", went to team Valkirii for their long-read on "Global Warming: the Case of Uzbekistan".
“Best social project based on open data (Telegram-bot)” went to Nigora Asretdinova for her project “@Dorilarbot – searching drugs in nearby drugstores”.
Shukhrat Agzamov won the 2nd individual nomination, "Best business project based on open data (Telegram-bot)” with his project “@TadbirkorBot – a guide for entrepreneurs on taxes”.
In addition to the above nominations, the contest organizers introduced a special nomination, "Most innovative project", to award the IUTech team for creating a TICS project, which combines hardware and software to monitor the environment and generate open data.
All four days of the challenge were highly productive. Each team has achieved excellent results, in one way or another by demonstrating a working prototype or data driven story.
Avezov Golib, participant from Navoi region, developer at "Compass Group" Ltd.: “The activity of our company is focused on development of web sites. For today, the number of web sites developed by us has reached 50. In this competition, I participate in the nomination "Best social project" with a project based on open data. I want to highlight the importance of the workshops conducted during this hackathon for my future activities.”
The award ceremony of the hackathon will be held on December 17, 2016 at the Palace of Youth Creativity.
As an important step to promote open data and support people who are able and willing to become more engaged in open data, MIT.UZ Open Data Challenge 2016 is expected to produce long-lasting results.