Latvian Open Data Hackathon for pupils 2022 – winners are announced!

During the last month, I have been a mentor of the Latvian Open Data Hackathon and an idea generator for pupils, organized by the Latvian Open Technologies Association with the support of DATI Group  , E-Klase, Latvijas Kultūras akadēmija / Latvian Academy of Culture, Vides aizsardzības un reģionālās attīstības ministrija (VARAM)/ Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development of Republic of Latvia and others.

This year the main topic of the hackathon was cultural heritage! Within a month, 36 teams from 126 participants from all over Latvia developed their ideas and prototypes, 10 teams reached the final after a round of semi-final presentations of their solutions to us – the mentor team (of course, we worked with the assigned teams in previous weeks as well).  Here, we not only evaluated these ideas, but also provided them with yet another portion of feedback and suggestions for improving the idea or prototype for its further presentation in the final, where the jury will finally decide who the winner is.

Here I should note that as usually (I am a permament mentor of this hackathon) the participants surprised me very much both with the diversity of ideas and in very many times with their technical knowledge and skills (AI, crowdsourcing, gamification to name just a few) – just wow!

And last week it happened – we finally found out who are the winners – Kultūrkults as the best idea in the respective category (idea generator), and 417 Expectations Failed as the hackathon winner!

Congratulations to everyone on the successful efforts to promote the cultural and historical heritage! Also, congrats the whole society on having such a responsible and passionate youth to their culture and history!

Repeating what I already at the closing ceremony, I really want to believe that all the teams that participated in the hackathon will develop and implement their ideas regardless of the outcome of the hackathon – you are all winners for us! Keep going towards your goal!

October – the month of Guest Lectures

This autumn, and more precisely in October, there were a lot of public activities, including delivering my talk at the ICEGOV2021 (14th International Conference on Theory and Practice of Electronic Governance (ICEGOV2021) “Smart Digital Governance for Global Sustainability“: “Towards enrichment of the open government data: a stakeholder-centered determination of high-value data sets for Latvia“ – this year I was able to take part in it in an online mode but hope this will change at some point), my Invited Talk delivered at the Nanotech2021, my participation in the Latvian Open Geospatial Data hackathon as a mentor – my team won, by the way 🙂 and my participation in the Europe Biobank Week 2021.

Yet another experience was related to a very new experience – the guest lectures. In the past, I had a few minor experiences, but these were mostly short talks that cannot be considered as normal lectures or lectures delivered only to Latvian students. It’s changed this autumn!

This autumn has changed this! I was very pleased and honoured to serve twice as a Guest Lecturer this October. One lecture for the University of South-Eastern Norway (USN) on the open data – its ecosystem, barriers, current and future trends in both worldwide and Norway context (see slides here), focusing on data quality, which the audience found to be especially interesting. I was extremely pleased to have such a lively discussion on the variety of points that we were able to cover during this lecture, because students have shown both an interest in my talk and what is more – their knowledge and ability to think and elaborate on the given points even without prior knowledge in this area. A very educated and intelligent audience!

The second lecture, however, was delivered at my neighboring Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Latvia (Latvijas Universitāte), on the potential of open data, reflecting the Latvian case and pointing out some examples that we can take over from other countries (see slides here). This lecture will also stay in my memory as one with a very fruitful discussion – hopefully this conclusion will be the same for the audience!

To sum up, thank you, for those professors who have invited me to serve as a Guest Lecture – Salah Uddin Ahmed and Visvaldis Valtenbergs. Hope that this was a great experience for us both!