This term I decided to do something risky: namely I decided to give a “practically” real project to my undergraduate software-engineering class, CMPUT 301, based on the City of Edmonton’s (CoE) open data.
The CoE is at the forefront of open-data initiative among Canadian cities, with Nanaimo, Vancouver and Toronto. It has launched a broad Open Data Initiative, which will develop an online open data catalogue for data managed by the City. The intent motivating the initiative is to enable Edmonton’s research and IT communities to create innovative and sustainable solutions. For example, MyStops and Route 411 are iPhone applications developed by local IT companies for Edmontonians using Open Transit data released less than one year ago.
The objective of the CMPUT301 project was to explore some of the possibilities around linking Edmonton’s open-data catalogue with other data available online to afford interesting services to anyone who wants to learn more about our city. More specifically, I asked my student teams to develop an application to help visitors to our city make the best of their time in Edmonton.
The project requirements I gave my students are shown below.
Imagine someone visiting Edmonton for a conference, who is going to be here for a week. The visitor’s days are pretty packed but there are some open slots for lunches and dinners, and — truth be told — our visitor is considering skipping the conference on the occasional afternoon. Moreover, our visitor has friends and colleagues in Edmonton at the same time. So, our visitor will use your application to get some personalized advice about what to do with his/her free time while in Edmonton!
the application will
- advise on restaurants, shows and events
- provide information about how much they cost, where they are and how to get there
- suggest friends who might have similar schedules and preferences and may want to join in the outings
The information should be intuitively visualized on a calendar and a map view. The visitor should be able
- to explore multiple pieces of advice (if the first one is not perfect), and
- to keep or loose any specific ideas.
Since I have been privileged to work with the City on another activity, I asked them to sponsor the project with an award for the top team and they were kind enough (and interested enough in this effort) to offer a $500 award for the best project!
In the end I had 11 quite interesting projects and the best ones uploaded screencasts on youtube:
- team bravo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pM18D92uF7Q
- team charlie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdvoaYUJNnU
- team delta: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mrUM-v6uuI
- team foxtrot: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jsPw3qVQvI&hd=1
In the end our CoE partners decided to give not only the award they promised (to the top team “charlie”) but two more honorable mentions (to teams “bravo” and “delta”) since they liked them so much that they could not but recognize them!
I am delighted, excited and pumped for more such collaborations! After I mark my 301 finals that is…
Categoriesacademia CASCON CityOfEdmonton computer science distributed meetings Gov2.0 GRAND NCE hierarchy of engagement mentoring OpenData research Second Life semantics serious games Simulation-based Training Smart Condo software-engineering education software engineering teaching UCOSP Uncategorized Virtual Worlds web web services women
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