City using technology to improve services

Second Guelph Hackathon and ask.guelph.ca announced

Guelph, ON, February 13, 2015 – The City of Guelph, as part of its ongoing commitment to community participation in local government, is launching two initiatives to enhance City services: an Open Guelph Online Hackathon and ask.guelph.ca. These initiatives coincide with the International Open Data Day, February 21, 2015.

The Online Hackathon is designed for students, local application developers and interested community members to use City data to create innovative mobile and web-based applications and tools for Guelph residents. The tools will help to improve the delivery of transit and solid waste services.

“Rather than the City building tools for residents, we are looking to involve the community in the process. Guelph residents have great ideas and skill sets that can help others receive the information they’re looking for,” says Blair Labelle, general manager, Technology and Innovation Services. “The focus of the City’s second Hackathon is on two service areas that are key services for residents – waste collection and transit.”

The 2015 online Hackathon will allow participants to develop their tool from the comforts of home and submit their entries online. For more information, visit  the city’s website, open.guelph.ca/guelph-hackathon-2015. While the contest officially begins on Monday, February 23, participants can get a jump start by reviewing the four themes in advance. Prizes will be awarded for the top three entries.

The Online Hackathon closes Sunday, March 1 at 11:59 p.m. The event is free and pre-registration is not required but encouraged. Data sets will be made available on Sunday, February 22.

The City’s new portal, ask.guelph.ca, is designed to make it easier for residents to ask questions about how the municipality works. The portal is designed to function like Google; residents can type questions and the site will search the City’s pre-populated content for the answer.

“ask.guelph.ca is more than a search engine. It provides a way for residents to better understand  how the municipality works,” says Labelle. “If the answer is not found, residents will be able to submit their question to the City.”

Making civic information more readily available and relevant to Guelph residents, in transparent and accountable ways is one of four focus areas the City is pursuing as part of its open government efforts.

For more information

Blair Labelle
General Manager, Technology and Innovation
Corporate Services
Information Technology
519-822-1260  x 2232
blair.labelle@guelph.ca