Credit: MMB

App For Easier Reading of Official Noticeboards Wins 2nd Brno Hackathon

Last weekend, the City of Brno hosted the second city hackathon, in partnership with Czechitas and BrnoAI. This event sees teams of programmers, graphic designers and web designers work intensively together on an innovative project. In this case, the teams used the open data of the City of Brno from the portal to develop a product which will improve the lives of residents or the development of the city. A total of 45 competitors took part, divided into 10 teams.

The event started at 9am on Saturday, 13 April, in the premises of SAP Labs on Holandská, and the competition itself began at 10am, ending 24 hours later on Sunday morning. The teams then presented their ideas, solutions or application prototypes to the jury, mentors and other event participants.

The evaluation jury consisted of five experts in various professions: Petr Bořecký (Brno city councillor), Radka Domanská (Digital Information Agency), Monika Ptáčníková (Czechitas), Roman Michel (SAP Labs) and Jan Bárta (Brno AI). The jury selected and awarded three proposals which impressed with their innovation, feasibility and technical solution. Another four projects received special awards.

The winning team, “Cóboláci”, presented the “Ultra official board” project, a user-friendly application that makes the official noticeboards of Brno and city districts easily accessible. The app uses artificial intelligence to read, filter and search for information from official boards, even if they are very often only in .pdf-type formats. In the future, this solution could extend to the uniform digitization of official boards of cities and municipalities throughout the Czech Republic and the updating of the uniform data standard.

First place award. Credit: MMB

The second-placed team “DatLove” came up with the “” project. This is a web application that calculates and displays the so-called quality of life index for specific places in Brno. The application works with an interactive map and targets both new residents who are looking for a suitable place to live in Brno, as well as existing residents and the city administration, who are trying to develop and improve the city. The purpose of the quality of life index, created on the basis of 11 data sets, is not only to draw attention to the most suitable locations for living for various target groups, but also to the lower quality of life in some areas, and also to missing data. This application also anticipates future development, specifically with the addition of personalised user profiles.

The team named “Team-7” claimed the bronze position with the “Circular Brno” project, which aims to help Brno better and more comprehensively grasp the system of the circular economy. The team created a web application that will make it possible to find places, events and courses supporting a sustainable lifestyle. Following the values ​​of the city’s #brno2050 strategy, which includes the concept of a circular economy, the application shows that old things do not have to become trash, and helps the user easily find ways to repair, replace and reuse them.

Throughout the duration of the hackathon, the teams had access to mentors and other advisers from the municipality and from Czechitas. Their work was observed on site by the deputy mayor Filip Chvátal. “In recent years, Brno has gained a reputation as a student and modern city with a good quality of life. The Hackathon is a unique opportunity to improve the lives of the city’s residents and take its development one step further,” he said.

Chvátal and Borecký, Brno city councillor for the area of ​​citizen participation, agreed on the high level of this year’s projects. “Meeting interesting people, inspiring each other and learning something new – that’s what I see the magic of this year’s hackathon,” added Borecký. “And the point of view from the outside, which was brought by the individual participants, was also valuable, and which allows the city to perceive the needs of the city’s inhabitants in a slightly different way.”

Other awarded projects included a mobile app game allowing users to “collect” the city’s statues, an app providing allergy sufferers with spatial information about risky areas for different allergens, and another measuring air quality in different locations in a user-friendly interface.

The teams in the first three positions received financial awards (CZK 20,000, 15,000 and 10,000 respectively). Further information on all the hackathon projects will soon be available on the project website.

Oliver Pospíšil, secretary of the Brno Municipality, said the hackathon had shown that organising such events makes sense. “Brno will try to put the ideas into practice both for the winning and award-winning designs and for the projects of the other competing teams, if possible,” he said. “The main purpose of the hackathon was to find innovative solutions to the city’s weak points and then work on strengthening them.”

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