Codethecity five is over. It took place over the weekend of 24 / 25 October 2015, and was themed around culture. Around 40 volunteers worked on some great projects. You can catch up with events on the #CTC5 tag here.
Our final team profile is of… well, the people who have been ‘between’ teams!
Angela, a student of interactive media, is very interested in coding and came here to learn from others and help out where she can. She became interested in technology after completing a Computing for the Totally Terrified course, and has progressed her skills from there.
Rowan, an admin professional, has been doing some tweeting and blogging on this Tumblr. She’s also been checking in on the teams, asking them about their projects and providing a new perspective, and in the latter stages of some projects she has been lending her CSS skills to ensuring the finished projects look good as well as work well.
Sarah, who does PR and photography; and Erin, a contracts administrator for an IT company have been tweeting, photographing and interviewing the teams about their projects. We’ve also been publishing updates on here too. (We don’t code!)
Team #ActiveAberdeen have also been working on a matching app. Eventually it is planned that this could work alongside the #BigSociety and #MatchTheCity products, but presently it’s been designed along the lines of matching sports and physical activity opportunities alongside participants. When we spoke with them, they told us they had a working website, but that it currently didn’t look very pretty! Form can definitely come after function.
The team are Robert, an electronic engineer, and Giles, a developer.
We caught up with Iain, an internet engineering researcher at the University of Aberdeen, and the sole remaining member of team #FOIAWiki, just after he announced that the team’s project was complete! Local authorities are required to make disclosures under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, and a log of these disclosures made by Aberdeen City Council is available on their website. Currently the log is not searchable and it can be difficult for a visitor to the site to determine if anyone has made a similar request for information disclosure to one that you may plan to make.
The #FOIAWiki has taken the existing disclosures out and adapted them into a database to linked data standards, so that other people can use it. It allows searches to be made by keyword, incorporates data from two local authorities so far, and is based on modular scrapers so that data pertaining to other local authorities can be contributed.
You can read more about what Iain and Johnny (not pictured) have been doing on Iain’s blog.
#Oranj are developing the form for a customer of the Translation department to request a translator. The form outputs to a database, and the team plan for this to eventually interface with the finished articles that #JuicyWords and #RosettaRoot produce. #Oranj are attempting to work closely with their ‘client’, in this case, the Translation department, to ensure that what they produce will meet their needs and those of their customers.
Team #Oranj are Adrian, a freelance software developer and student of Computing Science, and Matias, who is soon to graduate with a degree in Computing Science.
Team #MatchTheCity are creating the back-end to support projects like the #ActiveAberdeen and #BigSociety team projects. The end result should allow you to match things together – allowing people to match with events, sports or volunteering opportunities, based on particular criteria, perhaps a set of certain skills, including soft skills.
An example of a volunteer match would be that a community service needed someone to answer a telephone helpline, they could have a requirement for people to have empathy and an excellent telephone manner, and people seeking volunteer work with those attributes would be matched with that opportunity.
As I write this, the team had been scraping and also transcribing data from existing websites, for example the SportAberdeen timetable and the timetable for the new Aquatics Centre, to be used for this purpose.
A challenge the team have been facing with this project is that the data they need is not open data. It is designed for human reading, often cannot be machine-read and is effectively single-use. This precludes it from being presented in a different way, for example, it currently could not feed directly into an app for a smartphone.
Update (11:19am): #MatchTheCity have expanded their data model to include new functionality. You can see this team’s output at CodeTheCity’s GitHub.
#MatchTheCity are David, a Code for Europe fellow at East Lothian Council; Ian, the e-government manager at Aberdeen City Council; and Andrew, a Code for Europe fellow at Edinburgh City Council.
#BigSociety summarised their aim in one sentence as “a dating app for volunteers”! They want potential volunteers to be able to find opportunities that are a perfect match for their availability and skills. This will allow volunteer hours to be used more effectively, and by providing full information regarding what the volunteer role entails, and what skills are required, create a better volunteering experience.
The ideal is for the app to allow matches to happen in a timely fashion, so as to link in with funding opportunities on offer, and also offer the possibility to track the volunteer hours being utilised.
Team #BigSociety are
Mark, a web developer; James, a development officer; Julie, the Enterprise, Innovation & Funding Officer in the Communities team at Aberdeen City Council; Jan, an information systems analyst; and Brian, the Chair at Altens & Cove Community Association.