What you said about Vancouver Open Data Day Hackathon: survey results

The third annual International Open Data Data was on February 23, 2013. The City of Vancouver participated with over 90 cities worldwide by organizing a local Hackathon at City Hall—our first Hackathon ever.

To help gauge our success and identify ways to improve, we asked participants to take a survey and received 21 responses (a 30% response rate).

Overall, you told us to better engage and support the open data community by supporting similar events in the future as a participant and venue sponsor.

89% of responses want future events held at City Hall and liked the interactive session between participants and City staff (especially the speed data-ing session). Thanks Open Data Ottawa for the inspiration!

How you described the event experience

A word cloud of how the Hackathon was most commonly described 

What you most liked about the event

  • Meeting city staff and public to talk about ideas, concerns, and feedback
  • Hacking

Quotes from attendees

“Speed-data-ing was good. Very nice that so many City staff are keen to show up, meet potential users, and are receptive to feedback and requests!! I'm also quite impressed with the calibre of some of the ideas folks proposed.”

“As a city staff person, I most enjoyed the opportunity to meet members of the public who are interested in using open data for common good.”

“...cross-section of participation: academia, hackers, enthusiasts, government officials, City staff, etc...” 

What you liked least

  • Coffee
  • Internet speed and bandwidth
  • Lunch not available on site 

Quotes from attendees

"I think it would be great if people could commit to staying for the whole time. It was hard to have many team members leave at about 1:00pm because of other commitments. Or maybe the event needs to be shorter."

"...lack of main themes and preparation of them..." 

How to improve the event

  • Provide lunch onsite
  • Allow more time for speed data-ing session and hacking
  • Offer faster internet access and/or file server (or thumb drive) with all the Vancouver datasets
  • Encourage more people from diverse backgrounds to attend
  • Improve the room setup so people can conveniently start coding 

Quotes from attendees

"Welcome more people from diverse backgrounds across vocational interests and skills to broaden the conversation and flesh out projects in a more systemic way so the amazing efforts of innovators are carried further. Specifically include advertising for, or directly invite community organizers, activists, artists, designers, and volunteers of all kinds. Many such people did come, but not enough."

"It would be nice to see a continuation from one year to the next of ideas for data in year 1 resulting in a new data set ready for developers to work on in the following years hackathon."

"...have lots of good quality coffee, danishes, and pizzas, even if participants pay for it by donation. Lots of natural light is also useful..." 

Your insights and learnings from the the speed-data-ing session

Quotes from attendees

"The community has ideas for using data that City Staff have not envisioned. Developers also need to understand that not all ideas of a data set are feasible - particularly for real time data."

"Realized that the City is interested in citizen engagement to understand where best to deploy infrastructure."

"We received a diversity of opinion from potential users of our data and that is going to help us identify stakeholders in ongoing discussions about how to format the data."

How you want to hear about future events

  • Twitter
  • Vancouver’s open data email distribution list
  • Friend (word of mouth)
  • Email notification from Google group