Hack-A-Thon weekend aims for transportation innovations

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Data and software coding programmers will compete in a civic “Hack-A-Thon” June 26-27 to use public information to help improve transportation issues in the Upstate.

Nonprofit organization iMAGINE Upstate will organize the weekend-long competition presented by Robert Half Technology to encourage finding solutions to transportation-related challenges using creativity, technology and public records.

Teams of computer coders and programmers will create projects related to four categories: infrastructure, parking, bikes and trails or public/mass transit. Teams will describe projects to a team of judges the first day of the competition and then present work the following day.

Ryan Heafy, iMAGINE Upstate executive director and founder, said an example of a project could be a smartphone application showing GPS tracking of downtown trolleys to let potential riders know where to find the vehicles and when to anticipate arrival.

“It’s showing how to be innovative to create civic solutions,” he said.

Each team will pitch projects on June 26 and present work on June 27. A panel of judges will select the winners, who will receive prizes.

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Examples of projects created during the Hack-A-Thon could include mobile applications related to providing real-time transportation information; visualizations showing complex data sets to help the public understand transportation issues; and information graphics showing analysis of different data sets.

The competition is expected to draw about 100 participants, said Sarah Arbogast, director of marketing and events at iMAGINE Upstate.

The competition will take place at Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research in Greenville. Partners include Community Code, iT-oLogy, Project Hub, the Upstate Business Journal and The Iron Yard.

Along with the Hack-A-Thon, other related events on site will include a session to introduce kids to software coding and demonstrations of innovative technology related to transportation in the area.

iMAGINE Upstate was formed as an effort to create interest locally in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to help create a workforce for high-tech, high-skilled jobs in the region. The organization hosted a festival in April to showcase the blend of Upstate businesses, industry and educational opportunities related to STEM.

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