Open Data is an idea that citizens should have wide access to the information collected by their governments without any restrictions, except those preventing the tampering of data, misrepresent the data and/or information.
The keynote address was delivered by Honourable Stanley Mutumba Simataa, Minister of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), who highlighted the benefits of open data. “Giving citizens access to data to freely use and/or share will promote innovation, induce the development of more businesses and help entrepreneurs develop products and services not yet imagined. In Namibia open data can unleash opportunities – opportunities that will allow access to information, promote accountability, enhance transparency and of course enable the citizenry to hold government to account,” the Minister said.
The hackathon was well attended and innovative prototypes were developed and presented during the event for road users, drivers and passengers to use. The data for the prototypes was provided by Gondwana Collection, and the Motor Vehicle Accident Fund (MVA).
Five NUST students won the top prize of N$7 000. They are Albertus Coetzee, Gatsen Tjirare, Saimie Kevanhu, Gabriel Kamenye, Nathan Dasneves. The team developed a Driver Assistant Application that acts as a sensor to detect road signs and the distance of vehicles ahead, which then notifies the user. This application is tied to gamification as one earns points for driving safely.
“These prototypes or solutions are absolutely necessary in a big country with a small population and fairly good roads, relatively speaking, but the highest deaths per capita in the world. Namibia is the ‘capital of death by road’,” highlighted Dr Tjama Tjivikua, the NUST Vice-Chancellor.
The partners in organising this event included the Namibia Open Data Community, NBII, Developers Circles Windhoek from Facebook and Green Enterprise Solutions (Pty) Ltd.