Wellington Civic Hackathon Day One: Positive Disruption, Energy, Innovation, and Brave Sponsors

logo (1)Day one down and thirty local Wellington technologists, experts, urban planners, transport enthusiasts, designers, application developers, mesh network builders, and sensor specialists have been hacking Wellington Transport giving up their weekend to make a difference. Without giving away too much just yet, we have some ideas on the boil that are going to positively disrupt transport.

One of Wellington City’s greatest challenges and contentious issues is that of traffic management and flow. Traffic being pedestrians, cyclists, public transport, taxis, freight, and private vehicles. Therefore the challenge is: How do we increase the quality of transport around the Eastern Suburbs Peninsula and to and from the Central Business District?”

It’s a big issue. Transport in Wellington is becoming more clogged and there are no hard plans in the near-term by any Council or central government to alleviate it. Where plans exist, they tend to polarise people and focus on single-modes of transport. The only thing that everyone agrees is that we have to do something.

By ten AM teams had been formed and several different work streams with unique ideas were being hammered out. Now, those ideas won’t be going public until later this evening. Day two is underway and will culminate in a Dragon’s Den style session that will include representation from the community, the hackathon members, and the Mayor.

But just to wet your appetite…

  • In order to measure traffic movements, from people, to bicycles, buses, cars, trucks, and taxis, you need sensors. The cost of those commercially can top $3,000 per unit. But what if you can create them for ten-percent of that?
  • Taxis form a large part of the traffic to and from Eastern Suburbs and the CBD at various times of the day? How could that flow be moderated and managed better? How can we introduce taxi sharing?
  • The City Council holds screes of open data, can residents hack that data to show flow, patterns, and extract information that the Council doesn’t have the time or resource to do themselves? How can we use that traffic to better predict faster routes in and out of the CBD?
  • How can we tell when buses are about to arrive at a stop in real-time, how full they are, and what kind of mood the driver is in?
  • Why go to work at all? What if we can setup an affordable hub in Miramar providing high-tech office space for a handful of dollars a day?
  • What new modes of transport could we introduce?
  • How can we predict traffic volume as aircraft land at the Wellington Airport?

All will be revealed in the next day or so.

Some really brave sponsors

We wanted to call out our sponsors, they’ve really got behind us and it’s actually worth looking at what they contributed.

  • Araflow are a sensors company that track bluetooth signals. Wellington already has a tonne of these up collecting data to help the Wellington City Council for planning. Araflow donated us a few sensors and ITS Downer climbed up poles in the Wellington wind to install them.
  • Helfen donated us an entire floor of their brand new building in Miramar. Very brave. It’s a fantastic space and we don’t want to give it back. In fact, we already have eyes on claiming it for an Eastern Tech Hub and Work from Home space. It’s built stronger than a brick outhouse.
  • Catalyst supplied us two things. Beer. And Cloud. Both are essential. Catalyst Cloud is Open Stack goodness and we’re crunching a bunch of data therein.
  • New Zealand Wireless installed a temporary wireless spot that is managing to handle some serious workloads. We are pushing a good 100Mbit up and down.
  • Social Pinpoint did this cool thing, it allows residents, who aren’t that geeky, to drop their ideas onto a map, so that the geeks can incorporate it into their creating.
  • Boost New Media helped us out, they do cool iBeacon stuff.
  • Mike Clare, a local photographer, came along and gave us a bunch of his time for nothing taking some brilliant pictures of people riding bicycles inside and other things that OSH may not be that pleased with.
  • Wellington Airport gave us a whole bunch of traffic volume data for October that we have built into our models.
  • Wellington City Council have been awesome. We’ve stolen one of their data gurus for the weekend, they’ve fed us sandwiches, and a lot of the Councillors and Mayor have come out to see what it is that we’re doing.









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