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.
For those of you who have just joined us, we’ve been here in the Meston Building all day Saturday and we’re back again today.
CodeTheCity is an exercise in civic hacking – that is, building new tools and services to allow local people to better access all types of community resources. We have eight projects currently in progress, and we’ve just heard from each of the teams about their progress.
#MatchTheCity reported that they completed the prototype of the database back end yesterday, sources of data have been identified and some have been imported for testing. By the end of today, they’re hoping for a usable version to be available online.
#BigSociety are building an app to match volunteers with opportunities. The matching system is now operational and the next step is to introduce the ability to add community events to the system.
#ActiveAberdeen indicated that they now have a system for posting events that is active. They’re in the process of testing and refining, and they hope to have something to show at the 3pm show-and-tell!
#Oranj are validating input into their request form. They have developed a site for customers to be able to view the jobs that they have requested.
#JuicyWords have created a calendar that is now ready to be populated with activity days.
#RosettaRoot are working on the UI for matching the two other projects together. Things are progressing well.
#GoWithFlo are working on a site which would be populated by volunteers, allowing easy read summaries of top news stories, and using a Flickr API which would allow pictures to be matched with these stories. A more ambitious version of this proposal would auto-summarise the stories, and pictures would be auto-matched with the articles. A volunteer would be able to check and edit the stories before posting. The team are hoping to have the modest version to show later on.
#FOIAWiki have their linked data reporting. The data from East Lothian is now usable and about half the Aberdeen data is also at that stage.
#GoWithFlo has created and tested several hypotheses. They have established that there are good accessibility guidelines already available but feel that the council website is not easy to read. They intend to build an accessible, Easyread WordPress blog for local news and events.
#ActiveAberdeen has done its first prototype, created a basic test version and asked for user feedback on this. Feedback has been good so they are now harvesting more data with which to populate their app.
#BigSociety has decided to focus on volunteer matching. They are currently building an app. Their next step is to get the data with which to populate it.
#FOIAWiki has an ontology and database and almost have data. They know what they are looking for and how they intend to organise it.
#Oranj, #JuicyWords and #RosettaRoot are in the process of building their app to simplify matching translators to jobs. Several pages have been built including a login, calendar and search form. They have also been designing a “juicy” logo.
#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.