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Northern Ireland launches data visualisation competition


Department of Finance encourages young people to do something new with datasets fron NIOpenData portal

Northern Ireland’s Department of Finance has launched a competition for young people to use datasets from the Executive’s open data portal to create an innovative visualisation of the data.

It is part of Northern Ireland’s Open Data Strategy, aimed at embedding an ‘open by default’ culture in the public sector to raise efficiency, encourage innovation and improve the economy.

Named the OpenDataNI Challenge, the competition involves creating new interpretations from the OpenDataNI portal using a range of digital fabrication techniques such as 3D printing, laser cutting, milling and electronics.

It is open to teams of up to 12 students from all post-primary schools and further education colleges to design and create a striking and innovative interpretation from NI open data. The closing date is 28 November.

Real benefits

Paul Wickens, chief executive of Enterprise Shared Services said: “Having attended the launch of last year’s education challenge winners, I have seen the real benefits of open data competitions at first hand including encouraging innovation and creativity amongst young people interested in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths (STEAM) subject areas. 

“I am really looking forward to seeing the students’ interpretation of open data. Working in partnership with FabLabs, successful entries will get the chance to have their project built using FabLab’s cutting edge fabrication techniques in one of their digital fabrication laboratories and receive £1000 for their school/college.”

Earlier this year the Department of Finance awarded £20,000 each to two projects using open data in tools to support education in schools.

Northern Ireland’s Open Data Strategy, published in January 2015, is built around the move to making public sector data open by default, and is being implemented in line with wider public sector reform and the Northern Ireland Innovation Strategy.


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