The next Codethecity event in Aberdeen will take place on Sat & Sun 19 & 20 November 2016. This time around we’re focussing on health.
Full details available on the hack page here.
Code the City #8, which will take place in on Sat 25th to Sunday 26th February 2017, will be an exploration of the world of chatbots and AI (or Artificial Intelligence), identifying problems to tackle and quickly prototyping solutions.
>>> Book a ticket on our Eventbrite page
A chatbot is a piece of software that interacts with a customer or user to directly answer their questions. It uses existing data or information coupled with artificial intelligence to respond in a human-like way, guiding the user to a solution.
There are many examples of live chat bots in this exciting, emerging field. A chatboat could give you travel directions, tell you when its next going to rain in your area, or help you contest parking tickets. It could book you a flight and hotel, or act as a free lawyer to help the homeless get housing . The HBO series Westworld has even launched a bot to help you interact with the (fictional) holiday park!
If you are new to this field and want to get started we suggest you read the Complete Beginners Guide to Chatbots (and some of the links at the end of this article).
We’ll apply our usual Code The City methodology:
You will create mixed teams to workshop chatbot solutions to real world issues. Maybe these will building on the outputs of previous work we’ve done at CodeTheCity. Through rapid prototyping you will create new applications and have some fun in the process.
We’ll show you new techniques for service design, idea generation, prototyping, and rapid iterative application development – and you will show other participants some tricks and approaches, too. We’ll share knowledge and learning.
You might even get a Tshirt, and we can guarantee the best catering of any weekend workshop in the city!
To book a free ticket visit our Eventbrite page But be quick, tickets will go swiftly!
All attendees will get a year’s free membership of the Open Data Institute.
If you have any questions please get in touch.
If you are interested in sponsoring this event please, or providing other support such as access to online tools or services, please get in touch.
>>> Book a ticket on our Eventbrite page
Ian writes about using open data to look at GP appointment availability on the Aberdeen ODI Node blog.
“We should build one for here!”
So starts another Codethecity conversation on discovering a neat data driven tool. This time it’s the excellent New York subway toy created by Jason Wright.
The tool allows you to redesign transit provision in the city by building new subway routes. By adding new stations. By removing or moving existing lines.
It’s addictive and fascinating.
As is so often the case, we then start riffing on what it could also do. It could time travel using that tram data we have from the early 1900s. It could give alternate route options if we hook up to that academic project we spoke with earlier in the year. It could carbon count. It could give safety information for cyclists. We could data collect with a new app to feed it improved validation data…
Before we have the cake we’re discuss how pretty the icing will look.
In reality what we should be looking at is the bottom layer. The underpinnings. The data.
Where do people live? Where do they work? Where do they school run? Where is the football stadium and where do the fans live? Where are the shops and where is the money?
We’re going to start with the commute. Where do people start, spend, and end their day? How do they move around? And when? No agenda. No grand insights planned. Just a good solid data gathering and modelling project.
We’re calling it journeygrid.
If you have any data, or methodologies for gathering and storing such data we’d love to speak to you.
PLEASE NOTE – Due to low take-up this event has been postponed. We are sorry for any inconvenience this will cause.
Perth wants to boost its tourism offer and wants some help!. They want to see whether some well developed apps could help the city and its wider area bring attractions, trails, events, culture,accommodation, eateries; and activities to life.
They are also interested in bringing the quirky and interesting aspects of the city together, using great images and interesting user generated content through social media.
They have developed the website http://www.perthcity.co.uk/ and there is an app (http://www.mi-perthshire.co.uk/ ) but want some creative minds to take a fresh look at the city and surrounding area, generate new ideas that they could then develop into some new apps, open data or other projects.
As always we’re looking for coders, designers, data wranglers, service users and providers, bloggers – in fact anyone with an interest – to join us for a weekend of ideation, creation, open data and rapid prototyping.
We’ll feed you, keep you stimulated, and provide good wifi. You will leave with a sense of accomplishment, new skills and potentially new friends.
We’ve uploaded a list of hotels in this Perth City Accommodation List.
In addition there are a cluster of B&BS on Dunkeld Road.
Also, just outside the city itself, The Lodge at the Perth Racecourse are offering a flat rate of £90 per night in a Double or Twin bedded room (£45 per person), which also includes a full breakfast. See http://perthlodge.co.uk/dining
We’ve set the dates for the next three Code The City events. Please add these to your diaries. Bookings will open soon.
Dates: Saturday 13th – Sunday 14th May 2017
Location: Aberdeen University
Theme: Transport (tbc)
Further details to follow.
The following event will be rescheduled:
Dates: TBC in 2017
Location: Perth College UHI
Andrew writes about LIDAR, Oculus, and virtual environments over on the ODI Aberdeen blog.
On 19th and 20th March we found ourselves back at Aberdeen Uni with 35 or so eager hackers looking to bring to life a 3D Virtual Reality historic model of Aberdeen city centre using new open data. So how did it go?
This time we were more prescriptive than at any previous Code The City event. In the run up to the weekend we’d identified several sub-team roles.
After some breakfast, an intro and a quick tutorial on Open Data, delivered by Andrew Sage, we got stuck in to the work in teams.
We were lucky to have a bunch (or should be a shelf-ful) of city librarians, an archivist and a gaggle of other volunteers working on sourcing and transcribing data into some templates we’d set up in Google Sheets.
Given that we’d been given scanned photos of all the shop frontages of Union Street, starting in 1937, of which more below, we settled on that as the main period to work from.
The librarians and helpers quickly got stuck into transcribing the records they’d identified – particularly the 1937-38 Post Office Directory of Aberdeen. If my arithmetic is correct they completely captured the details of 1100+ business in the area around Union Street.
At present these are sitting in a Google Spreadsheet – and we will be working out with the librarians how we present this as well structured, licensed Open Data. It is also a work in progress. So there are decisions to be made – do we complete the transcription of the whole of Aberdeen – or do we move onto another year? e.g. 1953 which is when we have the next set of shopfront photos.
At the same time as this transcription was ongoing, we had someone sourcing and capturing music such might have been around in 1937, and sounds that you might have heard on the street – including various tram sounds – which could be imported into the model.
And three of us did some work on beginning an open list of gigs for Aberdeen since the city had both the Capitol Theatre (Queen, AC/DC, Hawkwind) and the Music Hall (Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, Elton John) on Union Street. This currently stands at 735 gigs and growing. Again, we need to figure out when to make it live and how.
At CTC5 back in November 2015, Andrew Sage had started to build a 3D model of the city centre in Unity. That relied heavily on manually creating the buildings. Andrew’s idea for CTC6 was to use Open Streetmap data as a base for the model, and to use some scripting to pull the building’s footprints into the model.
This proved to be more challenging than expected. Steven Milne has written a great post on his site. I suggest that you read that then come back to this article.
As you’ve hopefully just read, Steve has identified the challenge of using Open Streetmap data for a project such as this: the data just isn’t complete enough or accurate enough to be the sole source of the data.
While we could update data – and push it back to OSM, that isn’t necessarily the best use of time at a workshop such as this.
There is an alternative to some of that. All 32 local authorities in Scotland maintain a gazetteer of all properties in their area. These are highly accurate, constantly-update, and have Unique Property Reference Numbers (UPRNs) and geo-ordinates for all buildings. This data (if it was open) would make projects such as this so much easier. While we would still need building shapes to be created in the 3D model, we would have accurate geo-location of all addresses, and so could tie the transcribed data to the 3d map very easily.
By using UPRNs as the master data across each transcribed year’s data we could match the change in use of individual buildings through time much more easily. There is a real need to get the data released by authorities as open data, or at least with a licence allowing generous re-use of the data. ODI Aberdeen are exploring this with Aberdeen City Council and the Scottish Government
We were given by the city’s Planning Service, scans of photos of shopfronts of Union Street from a number of decades from 1937, 1953 and on to the present. Generally the photos are very good but there are issues: we have seams between photos which run down the centre of buildings. We have binding tape showing through etc.
These issues are not so very difficult to fix – but they do need someone with competence in Photoshop, some standard guidance, and workflow to follow.
We started fixing some photos so that they could provide the textures for the building of Union Street in the model. But given the problems we were having with model, and a lack of dedicated Photoshop resource we parked this for now.
Taking this project forward, while still posing some challenges, is far from impossible. We’ve shown that the data for the entire city centre for any year can be crowd-transcribed in just 36 hours. But there are some decisions to be made.
Picking up on the points above, these can be broken down as follows.
Taking all of this forward is quite an undertaking, but it is also achievable if we break the work down into streams and work on those. Some aspects would benefit from CTC’s involvement – but some could be done without us. So, libraries could use the experience gained here to set up transcribing teams of volunteers – and be creating proper open data with real re-use value. That data could then easily be used by anyone who wants to reuse it – e.g. to create a city centre mobile app which allows you to see any premises on Union Street, call up photos from different periods, find out which businesses operated there etc
As the model takes shape and we experiment with how we present the data we can hopefully get more attention and interest (and funding?) to support its development. It would be good to get some students on placements working on some aspects of this too.
Aberdeen City Council is working with the Scottish Cities Alliance to replace and improve the Open Data platforms for all seven Scottish cities later this year – and that will provide a robust means of presenting and storing all this open data once in place but in the mean time we will need to find some temporary alternatives (perhaps on Github ) until we are ready.
We welcome your input on this – how could you or your organisation help, what is your interest, how could you assist with taking this forward? Please leave comments below.
Code The City 6 – The History Jam was funded by Aberdeen City Council’s Libraries service and generously supported by Eventifier who provided us with free use of their Social Media platform and its LiveWall for the sixth consecutive time!.
The History Jam (or Code The City #6 if you are counting) will take place on 19-20 March 2016 at Aberdeen University. You can get one of the remaining tickets here.
09:30 Introduction to the day
09:45 Briefing of teams and, if you are new to Open Data, a quick training session
10:15 Split into three streams:
Throughout the day we’ll have feedback sessions, presenting back to the room on progress. We’ll write blog posts, create videos, photograph progress.
13:00 Lunch (the best sandwiches in Aberdeen)
More workstream sessions with feedback and questions.
17:30 (or so) Pizza and a drink
We’ll wind up about 8pm or so if you can stay until then
09:30 arrive for breakfast
10:00 kick off
16:00 Show and Tell sessions – demonstrate to the room, and a wider audience, and preserve for posterity what you’ve produced in less than 36 hours. You’ll be amazed!
Codethecity #6 – History Jam.
Save the date, or grab yourself a ticket.
Last October, we ran Code The City 5, a hack weekend focussing on history and heritage. One of the projects that we worked on was “Histerical Time Machine”. Over the course of 36 hours Andrew Sage built a 3D virtual reality model of a small section of the centre of Aberdeen as it was in the 1870s. Alongside this we saw a group of volunteers look at a variety of books (remember those!) and extract some key dates to attach to the model.
Normally at Code The City events, participants are encouraged to come up with the ideas and are free to work on what they want. We are going to run Code The City 6 , which will be supported by Aberdeen City Libraries, slightly differently. We are all going to work on sub-projects that will contribute to the further development of the 3D Historical model, and its data needs.
We will have teams working on tasks such as:
We need a broad range of skills. These include:
If you come with enthusiasm we’ll find a role for you – and we guarantee you will leave having picked up new skills, and with a sense of having achieved something useful with lasting value.
Bring a laptop to work on if you have one. An HDMI cable is useful for connecting to external monitors. If you want to take pictures or videos please take your own equipment if you can. We’ll make sure there is wifi for you to use. Don’t forget your power cable, and any chargers you might need too!
We’ll open up on Saturday morning at 9am, then have breakfast and a briefing session at 9.30am. We’ll then break into groups, each with a distinct set of tasks.
During the day, each group will work on their projects and periodically report back to the room on progress.
We’ll have lunch then continue in the same fashion for the afternoon. We’ll have pizza and drinks for tea and those who want to work on into the evening.
On Sunday we’ll start at 10am with breakfast and a quick update. We’ll follow the same pattern as Saturday, with lunch. We’ll wind up with a grand show and tell session in the late afternoon.
Then save the date, or grab yourself a ticket.