On December 4th, developers, designers, entrepreneurs, and general food enthusiasts came together at the Food+Tech Hackathon to develop and explore applications to help evolve the food and information technology community. The event, which was part of the International Open Data Hackathon, was in New York City and was organized by Danielle Gould from Food + Tech Connect, Marc Alt from Open Source Cities, and Tian He from Gojee.
Evan Patton and I had a chance to come down and help out with the day’s hacking. I kicked off the event with a lecture on Open Data and the Semantic Web. I gave some background on the Open Data movement in the last few years, discussed some of the current challenges in open data, and talked about how Semantic Web technologies can help address these challenges.
Evan helped explain some of his work on publishing USDA nutrition data on semanticdiet.com and discussed the Wine Agent’s food ontology and recommendation with participants. Semantic Diet uses semantic web technologies to bring together nutrition data, recipes contributed by users and crawled off the web, and personal dietary needs. Having these data organized and encoded using semantic technologies allowed groups to query and reason about food data, and even link it into their own hackathon ideas.
During the hackathon there were thirteen groups work on everything from application to help people eat more sustainably to projects that allowed people to understand price fluctuations in food products over time. We were thrilled to see some of the groups using some semantic data and technologies provided by Semantic Diet and TWC’s LinkedOpen Government Data project. Evan and I spent most of our time educating and assisting teams on using semantic technologies and data. It was great to see so many people enthusiastic about semantics and thinking about how they could use open data to start a project or improve existing projects.
All in all I feel the hackathon was a huge success. At the end of the day we had many applications and projects that have potential to really move forward and make a real impact in the community. Evan and I would like to thank the sponsors and organizers of the first ever Food+Tech Hackathon and hope to help and participate in many more.
Links to other great blog posts on the Food+Tech Hackathon: