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2016 GeoJozi Developer Challenge

- Wits University

Partnering with Wits University, the City of Joburg launches a developer challenge to address issues.

With R300 000 in prizes to be won, the 2016 GeoJozi Developer Challenge is calling on developers with an interest in apps, maps, data, urban development, cities or technology to enter.

Developers, aged 30 or under, can help the City of Johannesburg to improve its systems of identifying streets, buildings, stands and dwellings across the 1,645 km2 municipality.

It is being run for the first time this year by the City in partnership with Wits University’s Joburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE) and mapping software company, Esri.

Developers need to register on www.geojozi.joburg by 31 August 2016.

Real-time data helps to manage cities better

Across the world, street addresses and location are used as fundamental tools for managing cities. But with rapid urbanisation, local governments face increasingly complex and fast-changing urban landscapes that need to be effectively managed and to serve their residents.

Marcelle Hattingh, Director of Corporate Geo-Informatics for the City of Johannesburg explains: “Street addresses specify points of service delivery. They are essential for electricity, water, refuse, sewage, emergency services, land ownership, parcel deliveries, safety and security, being able to vote and countless other critical services and functions.”

Prof Barry Dwolatzky, Director of JCSE at Wits University says: “As the world becomes more digitised, more real-time data about cities is becoming available. This data can help to manage cities better and make them smarter. A street address informs us of location, and that is where Geographic Information System (GIS) comes in. It’s all about a specific position or the coordinates on earth.”

Dwolatzky says that this creates exciting opportunities for creating smart cities, modern urban development and 21st century city management. The GeoJozi Challenge will be hosted in Wits University’s Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct in Braamfontein, the City’s newest high-tech address.

“We are calling on young Johannesburg-based software developers to work with the City to help improve the accuracy and visibility of street names and numbers of all properties, stands and informal dwellings throughout the City.”

The winning solution will earn its creator R150 000. Second and third places are worth R100 000 and R50 000 respectively. The winning ideas may also be implemented by the City of Johannesburg.

“Addresses and location are essential for the efficiency of a high functioning city. The City is calling for innovative solutions that will help the citizens realise the vital importance of street addresses and optimise the power of location,” says Hattingh.

Patrick McKivergan, managing director of Esri South Africa, says: “This initiative will encourage young developers to develop their skills in location technology. As the technology partner of the GeoJozi Challenge, Esri will be providing the location platform on which the GeoJozi contestants will develop their solutions. It will consist of toolkits for the development and data on which the contestants can base their solutions for the street addresses and location issues. We are right behind the City’s efforts to create location awareness. Entrants will also receive free training and great learning opportunities.”

Last year, the United Nations estimated that 71.3% of South Africa’s population will live in urban areas by 2030, nearly 80% by 2050. “This puts the need for innovative street address and location solutions into the spotlight,” says Hattingh.

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