Jamaican software developers and designers will collaborate with their counterparts in seven Caribbean countries, with guidance from public sector practitioners, to make software applications that address the needs of Caribbean societies. This multilateral collaboration will form a major part of the Caribbean Open Data Conference and Code Sprint planned for April 11 to 12, 2013. The conference, which is in its third year, focuses on the use of open data, software innovation and technology to empower citizens, encourage good governance and solve modern-day social problems.
During the conference, teams of developers will use data and information made publicly available by government agencies to build apps which tackle a variety of issues relating to tourism, education, agriculture and the economy.
“The open data movement is gathering momentum across the region, as government agencies begin to appreciate the potential of open government data as a catalyst and enabler of innovations that can lead to improved public sector efficiency and service delivery,” explains Maurice McNaughton, one of the main conference organisers and Director of the Centre of Excellence at Mona School of Business and Management.
In Jamaica, the two-day conference will also bring together policy makers, researchers, journalists, media practitioners, members of the developer community, civil society and the general public for presentations and discussions on the value and application of open data as well as the incorporation of data visualisation to enhance news reporting.
The conference’s keynote address on the “Perspectives on the Kenyan Open Data Initiative” will be delivered by Paul Kukubo, Chief Executive Officer of the Kenyan ICT Board. Kenya is the first developing country to have made key government data free and available to the public through a single online portal.
The data journalism session is headlined by Alex Howard, the Washington Correspondent for O’Reilly Media. Howard is an authority on the use of collaborative technology in enterprises, social media and digital journalism. His presentations will address the topics “Data Journalism – Emerging trends, best practice and global leaders” and “The changing role of the Journalist – the art of storytelling using Open Data”.
The Jamaica leg of the Caribbean Open Data Conference and Code Sprint is organised by The University of the West Indies’ Mona School of Business and Management and Slash Roots, an organisation representing software developers in Jamaica.The conference is sponsored by the International Development Research Centre.The conference registration fee for the two-day event is J$1000and J$500 for students.