‘Hackers’ strive to find solutions

The #Spatial­Hackathon is what kept a group of young talented individuals up all night on Friday, 20 July, at the Sol Plaatje University’s main campus in Kimberley.

This two day spatial transformation challenge is hosted by Open Data South Africa, in collaboration with Northern Cape Deve­lopment Ecosystem, and facilitated and managed by Geekulcha.

The challenge brought five teams together to legally hack into existing systems to build socially relevant solutions, using spatial data and technology.

The teams conceptualised throughout the night with the aid of food and energy drinks.

They continued with high levels of energy and upbeat music into Saturday until final presentations were delivered in front of a panel of judges.

The judging criteria was based on innovation, social impact, best use of data, market potential, scalability and security. All teams were given six minutes to present, with judges asking questions.

After much deliberation, an all-girls team of four, the She Hackers, won the overall challenge and received prize money of R1 500.

Their winning concept aims to address the issue of waste management in the Frances Baard District.

The team’s findings are that areas with high dwelling density produce high levels of paper waste, and that recycling centres at landfills are either not fully functional or not used at all.

The team proposed to create a movable recycling drop-off centre which will in turn re-use the waste paper and turn it into craft products. They then developed a demo Facebook page which will be used for marketing to clients, and to communicate where materials can be dropped off at a certain place and day. They also created a blog that informs people about recycling paper.

The chief operating officer at Geekulcha, Tiyani Nghonyama, said: “These hackathons have been in operation since 2015 and each hackathon has a specific sector and technology focus.”

He said that anyone is welcome to attend these hackathons as different expertise are needed to contribute to a solution.

According to Ngho­nyama, the next big hackathon, which is the annual provincial Northern Cape Deve­loper hackathon, will be hosted in De Aar from Friday, 31 August, to 2 September.

The theme will be “Digital innovation for Connected Governance and Sustainability.”
– Refilwe Sekwati

The challenge brought five teams together to legally hack into existing systems.