The South African tech ecosystem continues to make strides, it’s important that it remains healthy and grow the capacity. “Data is the new oil”, they say. South African is said to be trailing behind in Open Data. Regardless of the standing, it's thrilling that there are efforts in place to groom the skills and talent in Data Science.
Here is the international ranking of the Open Data Index:
Geekulcha also took efforts to drive Data Literacy in the country with a variety of programmes set out to build more interest, momentum and innovation. Here are 5 things Geekulcha did in the South African Open Data ecosystem in 2017.
1. Open Data Day in Kathu and Pretoria
In collaboration with Northern Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism(DEDAT), Open Government Partnership South Africa and the Diamond Creative Vision Hub, we hosted and celebrated the International Open Data Day in Kathu, Northern Cape. The day was curated with workshops including Data Economy and a dataquest challenge with Lenovo Africa having sponsored 4 tablets as prizes.
For the Pretoria leg, we collaborated with GIS@Tuks at the University of Pretoria to host high scholars and they did a Data Test on public(municipal) finances.
2. Open Contracting Innovation Challenge
The international Open Contracting Innovation challenge extended to South Africa and Geekulcha was called upon to run the challenge in the country. A meetup was hosted to guide the prospective participants into the challenge.
3. gkVacWork in the Kalahari
Ahead of the Bloodhound Supersonic Car coming into South Africa, we hosted the Youth ICT and Business VacWork in collaboration with DEDaT in Rietfontein, Northern Cape. The youngsters were challenged to build tourism information centered solutions.
A group of 3 year young ladies made use of Open Data to build a web application, profiling indigenous species and their concentration in Mier. This is to give consciousness to tourists to be careful when travelling, especially during the hunting season.
4. Random Hacks of Kindness Pretoria 2017
A weekend that RHoKed the capital city, an Open Data challenge was put up in efforts to help enhance academic access and excellence. Apps, web portals and Augumented Reality solutions were developed during the hackathon.
5. GKHack17 Open Data Challenge
Biggest public hackathon in South Africa, the 2017 edition of the Geekulcha annual hackathon had 6 solutions developed through the Open Data challenge to accelerate and sustain. The focus was on Street and Township economy and the envinronment.
South Africa still has a long way to go in the Open Data movement. Ensuring quality standards and enabling ease of access and usage are amongst the key things to address. Geekulcha believes that we first have to build Data Literacy. We used platforms such as the VacWork, SkateHacks, the National Science Week, etc. to instil Data Science interest onto school learners.
The year 2017 had its moments, and we look forward to seeing what 2018 has in store towards the Data Liberation for sustainable development. Cheers!