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Civic Data Hackathon: Syracuse Roads Challenge winners are named

By Eric Reinhardt


SYRACUSE — Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner on Oct. 27 announced the winners of the City’s Civic Data Hackathon: Syracuse Roads Challenge.

The City had partnered with the Syracuse University School of Information Studies (iSchool) and Dallas, Texas–based AT&T (NYSE: T) to organize the Hackathon and to judge entries.

The competition, which launched Sept. 26, attracted 13 entrants.

The program was designed to “engage” technologists, designers, developers, and anyone else interested in using “their skills for social good,” Miner’s office said in a news release.

It was also “one of the first times in the U.S.” that a municipality has led a Hackathon focused on road infrastructure.

The winners
Stephen Shaffer won the first-place prize of $2,500 for his project called Scout. It’s described as a chat platform for community data gathering through Facebook messenger. For the Syracuse Roads Challenge, Scout provides a “simple” method to collect pothole information and centrally store and visually display the results, according to Miner’s office.

The team of Reuben Pereira, Roman Temchenko, and Oleksandr Dzyuba won the second-place prize of $1,000 for a dashboard that visualizes the quality of streets and “prioritizes where repairs are most urgent based on road rating and number of potholes.”

The team of Ishani Jariwala, Pankaj Bathija, Soham Khare, Shrutik Katchhi, Manas Sikri, and Gauri Komawar won the third-place prize of $500 for a dashboard that includes “descriptive and predictive analyses of road data.”

“We’re pleased that we could partner with AT&T and the City of Syracuse to make this challenge happen, and we are glad that we had the opportunity to apply the concepts we teach our students here at the iSchool for the benefit of the community. I am thrilled that many of our students took part in the hackathon, and that our faculty took the time to serve as mentors to participating teams,” Elizabeth Liddy, dean of Syracuse University’s iSchool, said in Miner’s release.

Miner said the competition is an example of how cities can help foster innovation to solve the problems they face.

“This Hackathon was a great example of what could be accomplished with open data and I appreciate the hard work of all our partners and entrants,” Miner said. “This is the type of innovative thinking that will challenge the way cities tackle historic problems with creative new solutions.”

“The quality of the innovative solutions developed through this unique challenge demonstrates the vibrancy and talent of the Central New York’s technology, entrepreneurial and student communities,” Marissa Shorenstein, New York president of AT&T, added. “We applaud Mayor Miner and Syracuse University for embracing the benefits of technology and data, while having the foresight to utilize these remarkable tools for civic and social good.”

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