What can I do at Codethecity 11?

We’ve had loads of positive comments that CTC is returning on 25-26 Nov with a Christmas themed hack weekend.

Other than at our very first CTC weekend, we’ve tended to have a theme – health, culture, sport etc. Those themes have put some shape around the weekends’ activities and helped people to identify challenges to work on, projects to tackle and solutions to develop. Which is great.

Who should attend?

Anyone – despite our name, coding is a small bit of what we do. We’d be delighted to see you if

  • You are a service user, or service provider, who has a problem with service delivery, or sees an opportunity to do things better!
  • You have an interesting in service design,
  • You are someone who wants to do more with data but isn’t sure where to start
  • You are a student (of any discipline),
  • You are someone who wants to improve their local area, or use digital and skills to improve local services,
  • You are from the third sector or local government,
  • You are curious about learning new techniques and skills to use in your day job, and finally
  • Of course, if you are a developer, designer, UX expert, data wrangler, coders, or service designer.

What to expect

For many of our serial-attendees, they know what to expect and how we work. So they are happy to go with the flow. If you haven’t been to a CTC event before, having a look at those links above will give you an idea of how things go.

Some others have asked ‘why no theme this time?’ – perhaps expecting a more traditional service-type theme.

Well …… there is a theme: FUN.

If you come along, you can interpret that pretty much as you like!

Tell me more

Here are some examples, of some suggestions that we’ve heard. How much fun you consider them is a personal matter!

  • Bruce has been posting about how he would like to crowd-source a guide to fun things to do in Aberdeen.
  • Andrew has let it be known that he wants to work on his arduino-powered mini-theatre – and you would be welcome to work on it too.
  • Steve is threatening to take some robot-artist device for you to programme to sketch rude pictures with.
  • Ian has suggested that his classmates from RGU get stuck into a resurrected project to scrape FOI data.

There also have been mention of building a Raspberry Pi-powered hadoop cluster, citizen-science style home data scraping kits and a whole bunch more.

Maybe you want to create some software to write (and tweet?) its own cracker-style jokes. Or a platform to lobby councillors to provide better open data, or anything else [We said fun – Ed].

It is entirely up to you. But as you think up some ideas, you might want to consider two things:

  • Will you manage to pitch the idea at the opening session to others so that they will work with you on it? Building a project team is much more productive than working solo on something. To do the latter you could stay at home.
  • Would it impress Santa? If you want the funny old fellow to reward your efforts you need to impress him, spread a little happiness, or make something that improves lives.

And, finally …..

If you don’t have an idea to bring, that is cool too. We’ll start the Saturday with some pitch sessions, so listen to others and join a team to work on their project which inspires you.

Don’t delay, get a ticket now! Otherwise, you might be disappointed!

See you there.

Ian, Steve, Andrew, Bruce

Help us Crowdsource an Aberdeen City Guide

Where do you go on a lovely, sunny day in Aberdeen? What do you do for lunch with friends if it’s raining? Which are your favourite indy shops? We’d like to know so that we can turn this into open data and build a city guide of the most popular ones.

There are lots of cool places in Aberdeen, and wonderful things to do, and we should let others know which ones Aberdeen folks love to visit in the city and surrounding area.

We’ll take these suggestions and use them to create an #aberdeenguide at our November co-design and hack event.

To help us out go fill in the form. Share the link with others.

CTC8 – Chatbots and AI -final presentations

After two days of intense activity and a whole heap of learning for all of us, Code The City #8, our Chatbots and AI weekend came to an end at tea time on Sunday.

It couldn’t have happened without the generous sponsorship of our two sponsors: The Health Alliance, and Fifth Ring, for which we are very grateful.

The weekend rounded off with presentations of each project, four of which we’ve captured on video (see below).

Each of the projects has its own Github repo. Links are included at the end of each project description. And, two days later, the projects are still being worked on!

Team: ALISS

Team ALISS worked on providing a chatbot interface onto healthcare and social data provided via the ALISS system.

ALISS bot project : Code the City 8 from Andrew Sage on Vimeo.

You can find Project ALISS’s code here on Github.

You can also watch this video of Douglas Maxwell from the Alliance being interviewed about the weekend (although at the time of writing the video is offline due to an AWS problem).

Team: City-consult

This team aimed to make the quality of consultations better through using intelligent chatbot interfaces to guide users through the process – and to provide challenge by prompting citizens to comment on previous consultees’ input.

City-Consult bot project : Code the City 8 from Andrew Sage on Vimeo.

You can find the code for City-Consult at this Github repo.

Team: NoBot

The concept for NoBot came from an initial idea which was of a bot which would make scheduling meetings easier. That spawned the idea – what if the Bot’s purpose was to make you have fewer meetings by challenging you at every turn, and in the process the bot’s personality as a sarcastic gatekeeper was born.

NoBot project : Code the City 8 from Andrew Sage on Vimeo.

The code for Nobot lives here on Github.

Team: Seymour

Sadly there is no video of the wind-up talk for Seymour. In short the purpose of Seymour is to help you keep your houseplants alive. (More details to come).

You can find the code for Seymour at this repo on Github.

Team: Stuff Happens

We started this project with the aim to help citizens find out what was happening in the myriad of local events which we each often seem to miss. Many local authorities have a What’s On calendar, sometimes with an RSS feed. None we found had an API unfortunately.

We identified that by pulling multiple RSS feeds into a single database then putting a bot in front of it, and either through scripting or applying some AI, it should be possible to put potential audiences in touch with what is happening.

Further, by enhancing the collected data – enriching it either manually or by applying machine logic, we could make it more easily navigable and intelligible.

Expect a full write-up of the challenges of this project, and what progress was made, on Ian’s blog,

There is no video, but you an find the project code here on Github.

Team: W[oa]nder

This project set out to solve the problem of checking if a shop or business was still open for the day through a Facebook bot interface – as you with wander around, wondering about the question, as it were.

W[oa]nder bot project : Code the City 8 from Andrew Sage on Vimeo.

You can find their code here.

And finally we were joined by Rory on day two who set out to assist team Stuff-Happens through developing some of the AI around terminologies or categories. That became the:

Word Association Scorer

This is now on Github – not a bot but a set of python functions that scores a given text against a set of categories.

And Finally

We had loads of positive feedback from those who attended the weekend (both old hands and newbies) and from those who watched from afar, following progress on Twitter.

We’ve published the dates for CTC9 and subsequent workshops on our front page. We hope you can join us for more creative fun.

Ian, Andrew, Steve and Bruce
@codethecity

CTC7 – Health – Final Presentations

These are the six presentations made by the teams at the conclusion of Code The City 7, Health Hack, captured on periscope.tv.

Team Float My Boat

An enhanced prototype has been created, with plans to create a more complete version. Using postcodes and mapping it would be straightforward to consume good data from elsewhere if available.

Some community centres and churches have over 100 groups operating at some point in the month. They can be hugely valuable, but somewhat invisible to the internet. Just making the existence of many of these groups visible can be a big step.

Also discussion of the importance of occupational therapists, librarians, dog walkers – many different individuals in the community that can feed valuable information into this kind of platform – important to remember that it’s not just primary care data that matters.

https://www.periscope.tv/w/1gqxvRgODoexB

Some interesting visualisations of the underlying data were also created, and led to some interesting discussions around assumptions that are made about data. Again, the value of having the experts in the room at a hack event was demonstrated, as assumptions were challenged, and analysis changed based on feedback. Such feedback can often take weeks to acquire – but was available during the presentation. A snapshot of the data is available on github, and you can see the visualisation here.

https://www.periscope.tv/w/1dRKZRLnErbKB

Team Text

phone

The team have a working prototype, with functioning logic to query the Aliss dataset and return three results vis SMS. Pulling json data from Aliss based on a query generated from the SMS exchange, and sending those results.

The team say that there is still work to do to make this production ready, and some of the language processing and logic could be improved – but getting a working prototype over the course of the weekend is a real achievement. You can see elements of the code on github.

https://www.periscope.tv/watty62/1nAKEkZeAqXJL?

Team Pomoc

The team have created a video prototype, which looks great. The full Polish translation is complete, and will be added to the video using youtube closed captions, as well as an audio overlay later.

The project is to be presented to a group of GPs later this week for feedback as to usefulness and likely impact. Code, and scripts, are posted to the team github page.

https://www.periscope.tv/watty62/1vAGRXqNVBaxl?

Team Delta Test

The limiting factor for this team has been the size of the datasets that they are working with, and the speed at which these can be moved around. Despite early setbacks with port access through the wifi (something we’re working on for the next weekend) the team were able to show some real results for the final presentation.

Some interesting findings around the geotagging, and inconsistencies that can arise. Some really interesting possible extensions to the project were discussed. The plan is to take this project ‘back to the office’ as the prototype for a full roll out to help optimise the use of lab support for GPs.

https://www.periscope.tv/watty62/1kvJpqRjjzMxE?

Team Friend Tree

This team found that overlaps between their objectives and those of other teams were significant, so concentrated on some of the more ‘marketing’ aspects of service delivery – identity, and some thoughts around messaging to bring people into the service.

Hand drawn illustrations
Hand drawn illustrations

A good example of a service that could be rolled out quickly on top of the kind of datasets being used by the Float your boat project.

https://www.periscope.tv/watty62/1eaKblAmPdnJX?

Upcoming events

Codethecity 11  (25-26 November) is almost here! See this page for more details. Tickets are available from 26th October 2017 on Eventbrite.

Who should attend?

Anyone – despite our name, coding is a small bit of what we do. We’d be delighted to see you if

  • You are a service user, or service provider, who has a problem with service delivery, or sees an opportunity to do things better!
  • You have an interesting in service design,
  • You are someone who wants to do more with data but isn’t sure where to start
  • You are a student (of any discipline),
  • You are someone who wants to improve their local area, or use digital and skills to improve local services,
  • You are from the third sector or local government,
  • You are curious about learning new techniques and skills to use in your day job, and finally
  • And, of course, if you are a developer, designer, UX expert, data wrangler, coders, or service designer.

CTC7 – Health – more ideas than you can shake a prescription pad at

In the lead up to Code the City 7 we sent attendees some blank Barrier and Opportunity cards.  We asked them to complete and bring them – with a single suggestion or idea per sheet.

On arrival people were to stick them to the wall. The response was great – with an enormous display of creativity quickly assembled. Many of these suggestions grouped well together.  As we got started, five volunteers stepped forward to be the champion for one idea each, which formed the starting point of each of the projects taken forward during the weekend. You can read more about these from this blogpost onwards. Even the drawings accompanying the ideas were great – see the montage above!

But what of the remaining ideas – of which there were dozens? I read each of them and have summarised some of them – often grouping several together – below. Each of these has merit as a potential area to explore further (perhaps at a future event).

  • Find out how busy a GP practice is, before you register

This links number of a blog post I wrote recently about the ratio of  GPS to patients at Scottish Surgeries.

  • Information on GP practices

It is suggested that there is no consistency across the NHS Grampian area – with some good examples of websites and some poor.

  • Waiting times for appointments at GPs’ surgeries?

Where is the data to show which days are busier than others. How could that help patients?

  • Live Tracking of referrals to consultants

Patients, on being referred to a consultant are often left in the dark for weeks or months until a letter arrives. How could that be made transparent? Could we have a ‘track my referral’ as you would a ‘track my parcel’? How or when will you get an appointment with a consultant? Could you self select from calendar rather than get one which doesn’t suit and has to be changed.

  • Lack of data interoperability between elements of health service / Health and Social Care etc.
  • Assist GPS to do more online – self service –  online calendars for appointments  – meaning that they can spend longer with patients or reduce waiting times for appointments
  • Citizen / Patient digital literacy

How could we assist patients to use digital services as these are developed. Which also raise the issue of health literacy – how could we assist people to understand their own health – e.g. cause and effect.

  • Persuade / help GPs to get citizens to use informal / community-based support
  • A shared calendaring across NHS Grampian to share training opportunities. Much training is common but is delivered is a siloed basis.
  • Develop a common organogram showing remits, areas of operation across the formal and inform H&SC landscape
  • Address the challenges of patients being treated in parallel between two specialists, so that they don’t feel that they are being passed from pillar to post.

These ideas alone would feed another three hack weekends! If you are interested in working or these – or sponsoring a further weekend such as this, please let us know!

Sunday updates – Codethecity Health

Great progress overnight and through the morning. Very few drop outs overnight – keeping a real energy in the room.

Float your boat

dsc_0021

The team have created a prototype website focusing on helping people find events and services locally. Includes stories about people improving their lives through accessing services.

Currently acting as a central hub for finding further information.

Have discussed turning it into an app, but clearly a web first approach seems the most appropriate at this stage. Discussion about the potential for local community ownership, or for a body like Health Partnership Development to take the lead.

A key observation was that the scope of ambition for the project has jumped from very ambitious and broad, to much tighter, and back again multiple times. Deciding on the scope to tackle took significant time, and was acknowledged as key to making progress.

Worth noting that the team is treating the sourcing and management of high quality data to be a parallel problem, likely tackled elsewhere.

Friends Tree

dsc_0028

The team has a paper prototype app aiming to guide people towards independently finding a way to take part in the local community.

Similar to the Float’ project, but focussed more tightly on social isolation issues and solutions.

They have been looking at the scoring, rating and categorisation of services and activities to aid in selection and guide people towards appropriate choices.

This team agreed with the importance of selecting a specific objective for the project – and to focus on that. Very easy to get distracted by related issues.

The unique element identified in the group discussion was the potential to allow the creation of some small groups. A fascinating example was the creation of a ‘take the bins out’ agreement among neighbours – helping people find help if they are away from home, and easing a ‘first contact’ event with new neighbours when you move home.

Delta Test

dsc_0033

While the team ‘have nothing fancy to show’ they have made substantial progress since the last update, and are confident of having a well progressed project by the end of the day. Work has progressed on three fronts:

Data collection and insertion to new database.

Reporting layer, where work if focussed on generating mean values for overview presentation.

The Geo team have been translating postcodes into coordinates, and creating workflows and automation to allow this to happen as time goes on when new data and boundary changes happen.

An interesting discussion about availability of data about GP practices, (there is more than you might think, much of which can be reviewed here) and what can be done with it.

Pomoc

dsc_0036

The language barrier project has focussed on refining the story told in the video and literature that it is creating. The discussion touched on the existing use of mobile phones as a primary translation tool for many people with English as a second language, especially when confronted with technical or medical terms.

Also discussed options to not only offer better translation access, but to offer language skills development services as a preferred approach.

Team text

dsc_0040

This team have met a couple of technical barriers when tying their various elements together, but have achieved a number of key elements.

SMS messages are being relayed successfully.

A prototype of the service has been created in Java to simulate the interaction, on screen for now rather than by SMS.

Discussion has been primarily around the importance of marketing and communications around the service. Targeting of publicity thought to centre on food banks, shelters, pubs, chemists, community centres – all places with high footfall from the demographic groups the service would be most appropriate for.

The wider group identified this as a key tool in self management of long term issues, and something that would have a genuine impact.

Data visualisation

dsc_0045

Finally, a demonstration of some visualisation options using off the shelf visualisation tools to gain insights into the quality, coverage and usefulness of a data set.

View the visualisation here.

Discussion around the demonstration identified the usefulness of the geographical visualisations in identifying differences and gaps in service levels from area to area.

Saturday evening updates – Codethecity Health

Pre-pizza updates from the teams:

Team Text

Since lunchtime the team have grabbed more coffee, created a big list of tasks, and been working on pulling Aliss data into their project. Work still to be done on the SMS layer.

Also discussing interesting natural language processing element to improve ease of use for the app.

Watch team Team Text on Periscope.

POMOC

The team have created a script and video prototype in English with Polish translation underway. Web based version is in progress and likely to be complete early tomorrow.

Looking at options for animation of the video tomorrow.

Watch team Pomoc on Periscope.

Delta Test

Since lunch the group have wrangled some network issues which held up progress, but have completed initial database design, and are working on the data and reporting layers in parallel.

Watch Team Delta Test on Periscope.

Friends Tree

Since lunch the team have worked on a web prototype of the front end of the service. Lowering participation through better data access, easier navigation and quality curation.

Watch team Friends Tree on Periscope.

Floating my boat

Since lunch have eaten sweets and cola. Community layer is vital to many health issues – a service discovery app.

They have created a number of user personas to enable

Four sections to the envisaged service:

  • Folk that can help
  • Your community
  • Folk that can listen
  • Events and getting about

The data underpinning this has been worked on in Open Refine and Dataseed to create visualisations of data coverage.

Watch Float My Boat on Periscope.

Codethecity Health Saturday Updates

Lunchtime updates from the teams:

Team Text

dsc_0012

Everyone has the right to access to information to make them well. Many people do not have regular access to the internet, best indicated by the deprivation index.

This project is looking at how to bridge this gap over SMS – allowing individuals to send a text with a location and theme such as “Aberdeen Anxiety” and receive a response either asking further questions, or suggesting a course of action. No web links, just telephone numbers and addresses.

Currently looking at quality of results, data protection issues, tech layer, how to pull information, how to store information, how to access and discover the service.

POMOC

dsc_0014

Pomoc is “help” in Polish. Many people are blocked from accessing appropriate services effectively due to language barriers.

This team is looking at the best ways to overcome this. They have discovered that in many cases it is cultural, rather than linguistic differences that are the biggest challenge.

Examples include cold remedies being available from doctors in Poland, but easily available in high street pharmacy in the UK. Seeing a doctor can waste GP time, lead to frustrating first appointments, and discourage further access.

They are currently working on the communication challenge around these differences, rather than on translation of medical terminology.

Delta Test

dsc_0016

The team are addressing demand optimisation of GP requests into labs. The core problem is that many GPs do not have access to adequate information to select which tests to request – so request a full suite of tests.

Current system is very disjointed, excel based, and difficult to use. They’re working on an on-demand alternative to deliver easier access.

Friend Tree

dsc_0018

A Gumtree for friends. Social isolation is a significant problem. The team wants to tackle this with a theme of ‘finding volunteers and other ways to provide social contact’.

The research phase has discovered a number of apps delivering similar ideas. The team is keen to avoid recreating something that already exists. The next phase is to test existing options.

The Team (formerly known Torry Dolphin Watchers and now known as) Float My Boat – Signposting

dsc_0020

The key challenge here is how to enable people to identify options for health and wellbeing services and other related activities.

Have identified the potential for an app that can be aware of individuals, carers, cared for, and even provide profile management for care professionals.

Looking at novel interfaces to encourage usage. Also looking at challenges around the sourcing and validation of data.

Codethecity Health kicks off

We have a great turn out for the first morning of Codethecity Health this morning – despite the venue change and the sub zero temperatures in Aberdeen.

Following the initial idea capture using our barrier and opportunity cards, and a few warm us exercises we formed teams around initial ideas and problem areas.

More updates about each of the teams as the day progresses, and on #codethecity.

group