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iSchool, AT&T, City of Syracuse Partner to Launch Civic Data Hackathon Focused on Snow Removal
The partnership between the iSchool, the city and AT&T is the second community-based hackathon in Syracuse that encourages community involvement in support of solutions to city infrastructure issues. In 2016, the city and the iSchool worked with AT&T to run the Syracuse Roads Challenge that brought nearly 30 participants across 13 teams who worked on road quality datasets provided by the city.
The Plowing Through the Data hackathon makes data available from the city’s fleet of 37 snowplows. The plows, responsible for clearing some 400-plus miles of snowy city roads, have been outfitted with GPS tracking devices since early 2015.
Hackathon participants can use the data to create new applications and predictive analyses that could be used to help the city address snow removal issues and better plan for snow-related weather events.
Syracuse City Mayor Ben Walsh announced a snow safety plan just days after his inauguration last month, and has made issues surrounding snow removal an early focus of his administration.
“It starts with us. We’re excited to involve our community in not just the enforcement, but in the long-term solutions needed to improve the way we handle snow. A better snow plan can improve commuting, safety, and pride in our city,” said Mayor Walsh.
“When the city makes data available to the public, people can see how the city works. For this challenge, when people see where snow plows go, they can help us work better, continue our conversations across platforms, and enable us to come together to tackle this challenge,” said Sam Edelstein ’07 G’15, chief data officer for the City of Syracuse and an iSchool alumnus.
“I’m excited that the iSchool will again be partnering with the City of Syracuse and AT&T by lending our expertise to the hackathon,” says Elizabeth D. Liddy, dean of the iSchool. “Our faculty and students are deeply engaged in using data to address a wide range of issues, including the use of data for civic good. I am looking forward to seeing the solutions that all of the teams propose.”
“AT&T is proud to collaborate with the City of Syracuse, Syracuse University and Mayor Walsh to provide this unique challenge to students and career technologists across Central New York to come up with innovative solutions to one of the region’s most disruptive winter challenges, snow,” says Marissa Shorenstein, president, Northeast Region, AT&T. “This competition is a unique approach to showcase how technology and data can be used for social good and assist municipalities to address issues impacting their residents. As a judge, I am excited to see what the talented local tech community creates to help the City of Syracuse utilize its robust open data platform to address logistical and safety issue associated with winter.”
The challenge is designed to engage technologists, designers, developers and anyone else who is interested to use their skills for social good. No prior experience is needed to participate, and the challenge is open to anyone—students and community members.
Cash prizes of $3,500, $2,000 and $1,500 will be given to first-, second-, and third-place winners.
Feb. 8: Plowing Through the Data, powered by AT&T launch and dataset made available.
Feb. 15: Snow Safety Summit. The city’s Innovation Team will facilitate four different stations exploring issues around snow removal. Participants in the challenge are encouraged to attend to better understand the challenges that city residents want solutions to address; 6-8 p.m. at Dr. Weeks Elementary School (Cafeteria), 710 Hawley Ave., Syracuse.
Week of Feb. 20: Virtual Open Office Hours with iSchool faculty members. iSchool faculty members will be available online for virtual meetings and consultation with participants and teams about data and projects. Dates will be communicated to participants who register their teams.
March 1: Projects due by 11:59 p.m.
March 7: Winners will be announced at a public ceremony at the iSchool with officials from the City of Syracuse and AT&T present.
More Information: Challenge details, instructions, a signup form, and downloadable dataset files are available online at the iSchool’s website: ischool.syr.edu/snowdata.
About Syracuse University
Founded in 1870, Syracuse University is a private international research university dedicated to advancing knowledge and fostering student success through teaching excellence, rigorous scholarship and interdisciplinary research. Comprising 11 academic schools and colleges, the University has a long legacy of excellence in the liberal arts, sciences and professional disciplines that prepares students for the complex challenges and emerging opportunities of a rapidly changing world. Students enjoy the resources of a 270-acre main campus and extended campus venues in major national metropolitan hubs and across three continents. Syracuse’s student body is among the most diverse for an institution of its kind across multiple dimensions, and students typically represent all 50 states and more than 100 countries. Syracuse also has a long legacy of supporting veterans and is home to the nationally recognized Institute for Veterans and Military Families, the first university-based institute in the U.S. focused on addressing the unique needs of veterans and their families.