A group of five students from the University of Pretoria (UP), Daphney Vunguvungu, Frikan Erwee, Kevin Potgieter, Sedgeley Penniken and Mabutsu Valentine Ragoasha, who competed as team Apex PentaVertex, were announced as winners of the Responsive Cities Challenge, which took place at the end of 2017.
The Responsive Cities Challenge is an open data challenge organised by the Open Government Partnership South Africa (OGP SA), the Open Data Institute (ODI) and a number of local partners such as the Innovation Hub and youth IT organisation, Geekulcha, and aims to encourage developers, designers, researchers and entrepreneurs to use available open data from various cities across South Africa to develop applications, stories and visualisations that can help residents work better with local government.
The two teams from UP, Apex PentaVertix and the Alaskan Assimilators, were comprised of third year Geoinformatics students. The students entered their solutions for the challenges of respectively Erkhurleni (How can we use open data to assist residents that are at risk?) and eThekwini (How can eThekwini Municipality use open data to better connect government to citizens?). In mid-November it was announced that both teams were among the top 12 finalists in the challenge with more than 100 entries received nationally.
Team Apex PentaVertex was announced as the national winners of the Responsive Cities Challenge in early December, winning R60 000 along with an additional R300 000 seed funding for their prototype, VivaImpilo, which is a web-based business intelligence warning system aimed at providing relevant information to the communities within Ekurhuleni. Tiyani Nghonyama, COO and CTO of Geekulcha, said he was proud of the winning team. 'VivaImpilo created a system that will add value to the various communities within Ekurhuleni by providing an easy, effective way for the municipality to gather and analyse data to produce useful information for public use. This provides the capability to identify new opportunities, and to implement an effective strategy based on insights gained from the data,' he explained.
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