Jan 10, 2013

Hackathons as a Powerful Tool in Latin America

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January 10, 2013

Source: www.geocensos.com

By Javier Carranza 

A hackathon is a term used in the programming environment to refer to a meeting of experts in order to develop software and applications in a collaborative fashion. The term does not necessarily mean to rip off data from anyone, in fact it refers to the enhancement of open data gladly offered by governments, institutions, and research and information agencies.

On the other side, mobile Government or mGovernment, is a widely accepted trend in governments of many countries s since it means lower costs and closeness to citizenry. It's an administrative alternative that helps to spread eGovernment to mobile platforms, through the strategic use of services and applications that are only achievable using cell phones/smart phones, laptops, personal digital assistants (PDAs) as well as a wireless internet infrastructure.

It's a win-win solution: Governments seize the benefit derived from the ubiquity that these devices propose, making efficient public services at any time and in any place. Developers see take advantage of learning about the area "hands on" and obtain open data in a unique place to contribute to the common good.

These meetings are not exclusive of North American and European universities. They are also local class, Latin American and Central American specifically.

In may 2012 the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina, developed the CiMO - Hackathon.Labs.Talks, a marathon of software development where 100 teams competed for the creation of the best mobile apps for the city, all related with information on emergencies, complaints, traffic, trash collection and other public services. The Squad consisted of mobile application developers and public and private representatives as well as, with free and open access.

These events can also address high public impact problems. In Central America, on next January 26 and 27 the first Centroamerican Hackathon against domestic violence will take place with the participation of experts and technologists interested in exchanging ideas and solving challenges posed from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, Panama, and Washington DC.

NASA, in turn, is looking this year to join 50 cities of the globe simultaneously for the second International Space Apps Challenge. The Agency plans to collect more than 4,000 people from different countries for the creation of relevant global solutions also locally applicable. The Ibero-American world has confirmed cities such as Belo Horizonte, Guayaquil, Monterrey and Santiago de Chile to the appointment. Cities like Madrid dispute also a place in this event.

Thus, in a region such as the Central American that has 122.4 cell phones per 100 inhabitants according to the International Telecommunication Union, the importance of making more and more hackathones to launch mobile Government solutions can be a smart solution to lead a more local construction of a information and communication society.

Copyright © 2013 – Javier Carranza Tresoldi – Todos los Derechos Reservados. Prohibida su reproducción total o parcial, así como su traducción a cualquier idioma sin autorización escrita de su titular.

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