The inaugural CodeTheCity took place in the Meston Building of the University of Aberdeen, on the 21st and 22nd July. It was organised by a local team, including our very own Steve Milne

The idea behind the event was to bring coders, designers, community members and service providers together with the ultimate goal of achieving social good by improving our city’s services.

Civic hacking

The word ‘hacking’ has a loose definition, which often draws on stereotypes of dark rooms or mobile phone answering machines. For CodeTheCity, hacking meant giving up your weekend to improve Aberdeen by creating open data and using open source tools to solve a problem. 

After initial lightning talks from Aberdeen City Council, community leaders and open data aficionados, an hour of team formation began. It was obvious from speaking to the non-coders present that they had an admirable passion for the public service, yet a slight frustration with current systems and processes. It wasn't long before the room began to fill with ideas and solutions.

‘A dating app for volunteers’

The current community volunteering system is a slow and reactive process, whereby an opportunity is simply placed onto a website. That’s it.  The volunteer has to find that opportunity, rather than the opportunity finding the volunteer.

Within our team, we decided the best way to speed up this process would be to match the opportunity to the volunteer based on a profile that the volunteer creates. After a quick planning phase it wasn't long before a prototype was up and running.

After two days, the end result was a near finished application, with most of the main functions either complete or identified. It wasn’t just our team that had been busy though, a MatchTheCity application had also been created which collates information around recurring activities in Aberdeen.

For a full list of the projects created over the weekend head to CodeTheCity