Data, a very popular trend right now and everyone is trying to understand and master the skill of working with data. Municipalities in particular, are gaining momentum in the Open Data movement.

Essentially, Open Data refers to data that is freely available, can be accessed, used and changed by anyone. There are civic tech organizations in South Africa championing the Open Data movement.

Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality (EMM) is among the cities opening up data for the public around the world. The EMM Hackathon was hosted to ignite a "Digitally Connected City" - putting skills into use through Open Data, Innovation and Creativity. Hackathon was hosted 30 - 02 October at the Alberton Civic Centre, Council Chambers.

During the hackathon, honorable members of the hackathon were challenged to debate on "should cities make the data open to the public?". Different arguments were made with members emphasizing socio-economic benefit. One member argued that cities should open data because data enables self-empowerment.

The debate was aimed at building more knowledge, interest and explore possibilities with Open Data. Some of the members are skeptical about having having cities open data.

13 year old Naledi who also attended the hackathon, made her argument and said that data must be shared to make the city work.

Want to get involved in Open Data, here is a great start, enter the Responsive Cities Challenge and stand a chance to win great prizes.