App that maps all 30,000 City of Waterloo trees wins open data hackathon

A group of young hackers are basking in the light of recent success after winning the City of Waterloo's first hackathon over the weekend with an app that mapped all 30,000 city-owned trees.

Timber app uses publicly-available data to map every tree Waterloo owns

The winning team created an app that mapped the 30,000 city-owned trees in Waterloo. (Cloud-A/Twitter)

An app that maps every single one of the 30,000 trees owned by the City of Waterloo took home top honours in the city's first hackathon this past weekend. 

The winning team behind the Timber app, which included two students from Sir John A. Macdonald Secondary School and one student from the University of Waterloo, used publicly-available data to create the app. 

Participants of Waterloo's first hackathon wrote did rough work on the window of the building where the event was taking place. (Dave Jaworsky/Twitter)
"This was an elegant, simple solution," said Waterloo Mayor Dave Jaworsky in an interview on The Morning Edition. "Taking the city data, latitude and longitude, and mapping it on Google Maps—I think that one can come to reality."

The hackathon, called Waterloo Codefest, started at 8:00 a.m. on October 24 and ended 36 hours later, at 8:00 p.m. on October 25. 

More than 100 coders and hackers participated in the event, using city data to create apps that do everything from describe local attractions to track city gentrification.

"This is the kind of thing that government's can't do," Jaworsky said, "which is why we wanted to liberate our data."

He said the winners of the event received a $1,500 prize and will maintain intellectual property rights for the app they developed.


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