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Waterloo hackathon to attract top local talent in October

Posted on Tuesday September 22, 2015


(Waterloo, Ont. – Sept. 22, 2015) The City of Waterloo is partnering with some of the biggest names in technology to host its first hackathon; an open data initiative called Waterloo Codefest. 

What: Waterloo Codefest
Where: Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), 67 Erb St., W., Waterloo
When: October 24 and 25, 2015
Information and registration:

City of Waterloo Mayor Dave Jaworsky is happy to see Waterloo take the plunge with an event like this. “Hackathons are becoming quite popular, particularly as governments strive to become more transparent and open with their data. Waterloo is full of talent and untapped potential and I eagerly anticipate the end results from Waterloo Codefest.” 

Over 100 coders and hackers have already registered for Waterloo Codefest; a tally that is expected to reach 150 by the event date. Participants will have 36 hours to create a functioning mobile application based on existing data sets or suggestions from the community. Waterloo aims to make this event different from other hackathons by providing opportunities for participants to tap into their creative side. Music, fun indoor and outdoor activities, as well as plenty of food and coffee aim keep everyone energized. 

More than 22 local companies have joined as event sponsors. Several have provided swag, while others will be onsite to act as mentors and guides throughout the coding process. Title sponsor SAP Canada is thrilled to be involved and looks forward to meeting the participants. 

Cindy Fagen, COO of SAP Labs Canada, said: “We are delighted to be sponsoring and supporting this event, which I believe will greatly benefit a region already buzzing with tech innovation and entrepreneurism. Our mentors are looking forward to getting involved and seeing what the participants come up with.” 

The City of Waterloo currently uses Esri Canada’s geographic information system (GIS) technology, ArcGIS, to store and serve up its open data.  Esri encourages coders to use its mapping and visualization tools in the creation of their mobile app. 

Esri Canada President Alex Miller noted: “ArcGIS allows people to combine open data with other datasets to make it more insightful. We're proud to support the Waterloo Codefest and provide the City with a platform for transforming innovative ideas into useful apps that will benefit the lives of its residents.” 

The top three applications developed will be announced at an awards ceremony on Sunday, Oct. 25, at 8 p.m., at CIGI. The judging panel includes City of Waterloo Mayor Dave Jaworsky; lead organizer of HackerNest KW, Amaris Gerson; Kartik Talwar, director of Hack the North and Geoff Sullivan, director of business development at Cloud A. It is hoped that the winner(s) will work with the City of Waterloo to introduce the mobile application to the general public. 

To kick-start the weekend of coding, the City of Waterloo is hosting a launch party at the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery on Friday, Oct. 23 from 7 – 9 p.m. This event will give Codefest participants the opportunity to network, share CVs with local technology companies and potentially find teammates, if they registered as an individual, for Codefest. The media will be updated and invited to this launch party closer to the event date. 

This City of Waterloo open data initiative is an objective within the corporate excellence goal of the 2015-2018 strategic plan. It further supports the United Nation’s newly mandated sustainable development goals of a global community where all levels of government are open, transparent and accountable to the members of their community. 

The deadline to register for Waterloo Codefest is Saturday, Oct. 17. For more information about Waterloo Codefest, visit



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