Polish Programmers are fighting against Climate Change
Author: Paul Chen
Hackathons are organized by some companies to help the companies in one way or another. However, in Krakow programmers have organized their own hackathon as a part of a global effort to solve some of the most pressing human problems
Hackathons are a main part of the global programming community these days. They are happening everywhere. In tech conferences like TechCrunch Disrupt hackers come together to solve some problem. Some teams eventually end up becoming a start-up. Most of the time, the prize is money or gadgets. Other hackathons are organized by tech companies. For example, in Cracow, there are hackathons organized by Estimote and Base.
The purpose of these hackathons is to generate awareness for your company, and a way to find new uses of your product.
In Krakow, there is another type of hackathon. Hack4good is an international hackathon series started by Geeklist. Krakow was among the list of over fifty cities around the world who try to solve some of the most pressing global social problems. This hackathon gathers engineers, product builders, developers, and entrepreneurs to help the world by working forty-eight hours to develop applications for the human race.
In February 2014, the first one was organized. This event did not have any specific topic. Any proposal, as long as it solved a problem of the community was accepted. Most of the teams tried to solve the problems that were faced by the disadvantaged members of our community. The organizer of the event was Natalia Stanko and Jan Kraus. Natalia is also the organizer of the Women in Technology meet-ups in Krakow.
Third place went to a team that created an app intended to send urgent text messages to request help from registered blood donors.
Second place went to a team that developed a mobile app enabling deaf people to send an emergency text message via the 112 service to call for help.
First place went to a team that developed a mobile app that allows blind people to obtain real-time audio information about bus and tram journeys.
One of the organisers in Krakow, said: “We’re working with global charities like Amnesty International, Oxam, NPR Labs as well as local charities like Unicorn, Stowarzyszenie Krwiodawcy, Krakowski Alarm Smogowy, Czarna Owca Pana Kota, Wawelska Kooperatywa Społeczna and Mam Marzenie. They know the problems people in need have, and we are going to try to solve those problems. We believe we can help – that the technology we use can change and save lives.”
In mid-September, a second session took place. The topic for this session was fighting climate change. Deutsche Telekom’s local incubator, Hubraum Krakow, donated their space to the organizers. This time, five teams were assembled.
Localnie developed an open source educational materials that educators and parents can utilize to teach children and others in order to encourage them to buy produce from local suppliers.
Farm City developed a platform where people who would like to do some gardening and farming can find information about where there is open land space where they would be allowed to practice these hobbies.
Foodsurfing.pl developed a website where people who like to cook can place some announcements on the website and other people can come to the cookers’ place and have a meal for a nominal fee. It is meant to build a community in the way that Couchsurfing did.
Holepatchers is a team that developed an application that utilizes the GPS and acceleration functions of the smart device to map out the locations of potholes in a city. It is meant to get city officials to fix these problems in a city’s infrastructure.
There was also a team that is using iBeacons to identify certain garbage containers for recycling purposes. It will allow a user to locate the proximity of a recycling container when he is taking out the trash or trying to dispose of his glass juice bottle.
From this session, Lokalnie won third place. Foodsurfing won second place. And Holepatchers walked away with first place.
Holepatchers went on to the global competitions which are held later in September online. People all over the world were able to view the presentations from other locations via Youtube and vote on the ones they liked.
It was announced on September 21st that Holepatchers won second place in the global competition.
On Saturday, October 18, 2014, Holepatchers competed against twelve other teams at the TechCrunch at TechSaturdays event in Wroclaw. There, Holepatchers won first place. It means Holepatchers will have a table in Demo Alley at any TechCrunch Disrupt event in the coming year.