Morocco’s first open data hackathon

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By Chloe Bonnet, ODI Paris

From 4-6 November, Casablanca hosted Morocco’s very first open data hackathon, during the JMaghreb conference. The winner, Lebras, built an application to boost micro-volunteering in Morocco. With the help of open data, the team identified some 44,000 active associations that need volunteers, developing an app that would enable these to solicit help for specific time-limited tasks. This app would make it easier for charities to get the support that they need, and allow busy community members to find new ways to meaningfully participate in the third sector.

Lebras won against seven other teams, each competing for 24 hours to find creative and innovative ways to improve public services in Morocco. With access to large reservoirs of information often reserved only to big corporations and government institutions, the teams were able to innovate in fields previously neglected by SMEs.

Using Open Data Morocco’s open data portal (http://data.gov.ma/fr), the teams tackled problems in areas like healthcare and corruption. Other projects presented by the teams included:

CourseBoard: a startup to help students to find the best schools, and to certify their degrees (to be integrated to third party applications like LinkedIn, etc).

Morocco Open Data Heatmap: a heatmap in which to plug open datasets in order to explain and highlight new phenomena and patterns.

Mtawjh: a web application that can be customised to specific students’ goals, with tips to help students find the best education or training to suit their needs.

Medtarif: a platform built to address the problem of unpredictable medical care pricing in Morocco. It matches a patient’s needs (for example, surgery) to public medical facility prices. For private clinics, the team intends to crowdsource pricing data.

Agri / Watch: A model that predicts the price of fruit and vegetables by region, based on weather, inflation and market demand data.

Open Medical: An application that allows users to double-check the price of medication by scanning its barcode.

The hackathon, organised by AMGED (the Moroccan Association for Open Government) in coordination with the World Bank and ODI under the Partnership for Open Data, demonstrated the potential impact of open data on entrepreneurship. While all the applications presented by the teams were impressive, they represent just a tiny sliver of what can be done with open data as part of the world’s innovation toolbox.