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Feds open up Open Data to Canadian developers

Ottawa hopes the Canadian Open Data Experience results in positive change

Jim Kerr is Venture Publishing's Associate Director of Digital Initiatives. Get in touch with him at

Jan 22, 2014

by Jim Kerr

Are You Experienced?

The federal government is hoping you can help Canada stay near the front of the Open Data movement, launching its first country wide Open Data hackathon. The Canadian Open Data Experience, or CODE, will put federal government data into the hands of the country’s computing and design talent with the goal of creating apps that will improve the lives of Canadians “in practical ways.”

In an open letter to CODE participants, Treasury Board of Canada president Tony Clement says, “Open Data has the potential to drive social, political and economic change,” calling it a “treasure trove” of information and “one of the most valuable resources of the 21st century.” Clement says air and water quality monitoring, crime statistics and border wait times are all examples of data that could be molded into a useful app.

The 48-hour event, hosted at Toronto’s XMG Studio, begins at 5 p.m. on February 28th, but you don’t have to make the trip out east to participate. Developers will also be allowed to take part in CODE remotely from anywhere in the country.

Once the hackathon wraps up and participants submit their apps for evaluation, 15 teams will be invited to the CODE Grand Finale on March 28th to deliver a pitch to industry experts and investors. The creators of the winning app will walk away with $25,000, but the government says the real goal of the Grand Finale is to connect the successful teams with investors to ensure that a number of apps or ideas are brought to the market.

What if you have a great idea, but lack the coding skills to pursue it? The people at CODE thought about that one, and came up with the CODE matchmaker, which pairs up developers and artists.

So, what are you waiting for?

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