Propellerhead, Auckland Transport and AUT hunt civic-minded hackers

Propellerhead, Auckland Transport and AUT hunt civic-minded hackers

A new event, Hackakl, aims to find out of the ordinary thinking to tackle Auckland's thorny transport problems.

Tech consultancy Propellerhead has been working with Auckland Transport for the past year on opening programming interfaces that would allow third parties to develop solutions. That relationship has come a step further with an event in collaboration with AUT designed to develop a community around civic hacking, a process that democratises problem solving in cities.

"We have a limited ability to develop and fund development of mobile applications and exposing those to other people in the web space, not just developers, but designers and graphic designers, we'll get a raft of new ideas about how information can be put together and used," says Auckland Transport general manager of business technology, Roger Jones.

Propellerhead managing director Andrew Weston is an open source advocate and was inspired by a stream on social hacking at the Agile Australia conference last year.

He says hackers aren't just developers, but are often those with a specific problem they want to solve, or entrepreneurs who are big ideas people that can help guide others but not necessarily execute solutions.

"The whole idea of this is it's a way of crowdsourcing innovation," he says. "We're looking for novel and innovative thinking. "If this has gone well I'd love to see a community that's built up around this and it will bring together transport and solving other problems within Auckland, creatively."

The organisers say transport data could be used with other types of information to address challenges like congestion black spots or to offer a tourism experience on a bus using Auckland Museum data.

The event is set for May and the organisers have set up a wiki for ideas sharing. They're asking contributors to use a Github repository for solutions they create. 

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