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Apps4Gaps goes international

By Niall O Brolcháin

The Apps4Gaps competition has successfully run each year from 2014 through to 2016. It encourages participants to use open datasets from the Irish Open Data Portal ( http://data.gov.ie ) to produce apps. It is run as a partnership between the Central Statistics Office (CSO) and the Insight Centre for Data Analytics with a prize fund of €5,000. This year (2017) Insight’s contribution is funded by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) through the Open Data Engagement fund. In previous year’s it was funded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI).

Apps4Gaps is now developing as an international competition aimed at encouraging young people to provide ideas and create applications that will innovate in fresh ways and exploit open data freely available on the internet that could benefit society in such areas as transport, housing, planning, education, communications and health. In this year’s competition, the European Data Portal has been added as an optional data source for participants.

The aim of the competition is to enable participants to learn or increase their skills in computer programming, utilise the opportunities presented by open data, and be challenged in creating technologies such as mobile apps that can exploit the economic and social material presented.

We encourage teams of 3-4 to collaborate on each App submitted. This year nearly 50 teams have entered the competition including a small number of international entries.

Last year we pioneered training for schools. This year we will provide 4 training courses as part of the programme. All training courses are aimed at a school age audience. We plan to run, two training courses in the summer term and two in the Autumn term in different parts of the country. However, Apps4Gaps is effectively 2 competitions, one restricted to students and the other open to all comers.

All datasets on the Irish and European Open Data Portals can be used. It is open to participants to select which one(s) they will use for their Apps. The target audience is primarily students and young adults with an interest in ICT.