[Translate to English:] Teilnehmer während des Hackdays

Hackday in Moers: Open-data community comes together at town hall in Moers


Foto Mario Wiedemann
Mario Wiedemann
Senior Project Manager
Foto Petra Beckhoff
Petra Beckhoff
Project Assistant

Hackday in Moers – the event that has proven popular among the open-data community – took place on August 20 and 21 in the town hall in Moers near Duisburg. As in past years, the Data for Society project provided support for the hackathon.

Following our municipal Open-Data BarCamp, which we organized in May together with Difu, the German institute of urban affairs, Hackday in Moers once again offered the open-data community a welcome opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences. Once a year, many open-data enthusiasts from the state of North Rhine–Westphalia and beyond come together in the town hall in Moers. For more than eight years, the participants have spent a weekend working with open data – always with the support of Wegweiser Commune (Community Roadmap) and the project Smart Country (now Data for Society).​

Open.NRW portal, open-data apps, and anonymization of data

The program for Hackday in Moers typically features presentations on Saturday morning and workshops in the afternoon. Two apps were demonstrated in the town hall that use open data from the region to provide the public with information (e.g. waste-collection calendar, free parking spots). In a subsequent presentation, Stefan Kaufmann took stock of the situation after 10 years of open data being published by local governments. His conclusion: All too often, cities or towns simply dump a limited amount of data into a portal. Robust internal IT infrastructures need to be created instead, so that users have automated access to a comprehensive range of open data. 

Afterwards, Eva Pröbstel of the state of North Rhine–Westphalia’s Ministry for Regional Identity, Local Government, Building and Digitalization presented the state’s Open.NRW portal and the many ways it can be used to access open data. The program was rounded off by presentations by Paul Francis (Max Planck Institute for Software Systems) on a tool for anonymizing data and Caspar Armster, who is active in digital volunteering initiatives in his hometown of Hennef and who introduced participants to a project that conveys regional cultural history using digital technology.

Workshops: Building robots and learning the basics of open data

On Saturday afternoon, the program featured a number of workshops. In an open-data session for beginners, Bernhard Krabina from Vienna, author of our Guide to Open Data, imparted the basics that public administrators need to know when dealing with open data. Other events ranged from workshops on programming robots and on measuring particulate matter using LoRaWAN technology, to an exchange between our project, local-government representatives and Open.NRW.

The added value offered by Hackd​ay in Moers cannot be measured by the number of applications presented over the course of two days. The main benefit is the networking opportunities it provides participants, since the event is attended by numerous local-government administrators whose responsibilities include open data.