Pivotal weekend for open data in Hamilton



When: Friday November 21st – Sunday November 23rd

Where: McMaster Innovation Park – 175 Longwood Road South Hamilton, Ontario

Register: eventbrite.com/e/open-data-jam-2014-odjam2014-tickets-13848426015


Open Data Jam 2014 is happening this weekend at McMaster Innovation Park. I think it’s a pivotal weekend for open data in Hamilton!


Quick history

Since early 2011 open data advocates in the city have been pushing the City of Hamilton to release open data. The initial data sets released were static geographic data – fire stations, ward boundaries, railways, parking lots, etc. The type of data that while great to have released, admittedly does not make for particularly exciting or dynamic open data applications.

In the summer of 2014 the HSR real-time data was released for the first time and Open Hamilton held a very successful hackathon. HSR real-time data regarding bus locations is probably the holy grail of Hamilton open data. Everyday in Hamilton tens of thousands of people are waiting outside bus stops, smart phone in hand. If ever there was a chance to engage the general public in open data, HSR real-time data applications would be it.

Open Data Jam 2014 was planned when Microsoft Canada approached Open Hamilton about running another open data hackathon. Microsoft has actually been a champion for open data, and has supported similar hackathons in Toronto and elsewhere. The Friday afternoon portion of the event offers an opportunity to hear talks about open data, citizen engagement, city planning, open data app success stories and more. The Saturday and Sunday portion of the event offers an opportunity to build open data applications using the publicly accessible data.


Why Open Data Jam 2014 matters

I think the event is pivotal for two reasons:

1) The City of Hamilton is showing up. Jay Adams from the City of Hamilton will be there on Friday afternoon. If you want to show that open data is important to you and talk about why, this is the time.

2) We really need a killer app for open data in Hamilton. The real-time HSR data has been released since July. But as best as I can tell, the most widely used application for accessing this data is still the web app released by the HSR. A “when is my bus coming” smartphone app using the smartphone’s GPS data and the real-time HSR data could be hugely important.


If there’s two things I’m hoping that come out of this event, it’s 1) a publicly accessible killer app, 2) an open data group that is focused on continuing to improve on existing apps and create future open data apps.

As much as the City of Hamilton has been slow to adopt open data, if people want the city to continue to release open data, I really feel that could be best encouraged by creating strong, widely used apps (and a continuous follow-through effort to create more).



#ODJAM2014 is a 3-day event bringing together government, developers and citizens to collaborate and accelerate Open Data efforts in Hamilton.

Governments and organizations have become some of our largest data collectors and the resource is often resting in silos untouched. Open Data is taking this valuable resource and giving it to people who can unlock its value — resulting in new economies, job creation and increased efficiencies in public services.

Friday, November 21, 2014 (1:00-5:00pm)

1:00pm-1:30pm: Registration

1:30pm-2:00pm: Defining Open Data and Open Government

Richard Pietro (Co-Founder of CitizenBridge and Open Government Tour 2014)

Learn about the differences between open data and open government. Prepare yourself for upcoming conversations from thought leaders and experts in openness.

2:00pm-3:00pm: Expert panel on culture change required to be open

Moderator: Richard Pietro (Co-Founder of CitizenBridge and Open Government Tour 2014)

Panelists: David Wrate (Open Data BC), David Rauch (Open Data Edmonton), Renee Higgins (Open Data Sudbury), Sameer Vasta (MaRS Data Catalyst)

Panel discussion to cover how open data is being implemented in other cities and jurisdictions. Get perspectives from within government and citizens collaborating to improve their local area.

3:00pm-3:20pm: Networking Break

3:20pm-3:35pm: Just Go To The Blog! Save time and improve internal communication with Open Data.

Lauren Archer (LRA Heritage Consultant and former City of Toronto Heritage Planner)

Lauren is a heritage planner, writer, and maker. She has worked for municipalities of Toronto, Vaughan, Oakville, and Peterborough. She is into old home restoration and sustainability, online public consultation, self-directed learning, bees (highly productive community gatherings), maps, and open data.

3:35pm-3:50pm: Better Engagement, Better City Planning

Daniel Fusca (City of Toronto Planning Division)

Daniel is the Stakeholder Engagement Lead for the City of Toronto Planning Division, working out of the Office of the Chief Planner. He is currently managing the Division’s Growing Conversations initiative to improve the planning process through better engagement. Daniel is motivated by a desire to achieve greater openness and accountability in municipal government. To that end, he was instrumental in the launch of IdeaSpaceTO, Toronto’s new online ideas manager, and is working on the development of a new Open Data Framework for the Planning Division. Daniel is a graduate of the University of Toronto’s Master of Science in Planning program.

3:50pm-4:05pm: The BikeFinder Story

Jennifer Shen and Ankita Kulkarni, BikeFinder (Winners of Toronto BikeShare Hackathon 2014)

Bike Finder is an SMS service designed for Bike Share Toronto which delivers real time information about station locations and bike availability. Text an intersection to 647-559-0509 to receive up-to-the-minute results for bicycle and dock availability at your nearest Bike Share station!

4:05pm-4:20pm: Inside Job: Why OpenGov and OpenData Matter for Public Servants

Ashleigh Weeden (Grey County Community Engagement, Connected County Initiative)

Ashleigh Weeden is an award-winning community engagement practitioner and communicator who enjoys taking the lid off local government so everyone can play inside City Hall. She’s currently working on Grey County’s Connected County initiative, building a collaborative community partnership to leverage broadband connectivity for sustainable economic and community development. As a public service evangelist, Ashleigh has proudly worked for the City of London, the Region of Waterloo, the Centre for Non Profit Management, and the Government of British Columbia.4:20pm-4:35pm A pledge for community and city to work collaboratively

Anand Sinha, Matt Grande, Open Hamilton

4:35pm-5:00pm: Open Data in Hamilton
Jay Adams, City of Hamilton
City of Hamilton takes a look into the service and business implications with Open Data – a winning scenario for everyone.

Open Hamilton Jam Time! Pitches, building solutions, workshops…

Starts: Saturday, November 22, 2014 at 9:00am

Ends: Sunday, November 23, 2014 at 4:00pm

Together with McMaster Innovation Park, Innovation Factory, The City of Hamilton, and Microsoft, Open Hamilton is calling all developers, designers and problem-solvers to Open Data Jam 2014!!  A chance to work with civic-minded developers to create compelling applications using Hamilton’s Open Data.  Hear about local success stories! Have a chance in determining how the City of Hamilton creates open-data sets, and help prioritize the next sets of open data. Collaborate with other developers, and city officials to create applications that make a difference in our daily lives!

Be a part of the Open Data/Open Government movement in Hamilton.  Help make collaboration and co-operation a key cog in the economic growth of Hamiltonians.


VIZIYA in Deloitte Fast 50 for third year straight



November 13th – Hamilton, Ontario

VIZIYA ranks number 17 in the Deloitte Fastest Growing Technology Companies, marking the third straight year VIZIYA has received the honour

“Fast 50 companies are entrepreneurial, innovate and demonstrate leadership,” said Pascal Lamoureux, Partner and Leader for Deloitte’s Fast 50 program. “Their commitment and achievements are critical to the growth of the Canadian technology sector.”

To qualify for the Deloitte Technology Fast 50TM ranking, companies must have been in business for at least five years, have revenues of at least $5 million, be headquartered in Canada, own proprietary technology, and conduct research and development activities in Canada. A panel of industry experts evaluate and judge companies based on four key criteria: competitive advantage; size, growth, and market attractiveness; management effectiveness and organization; and financial performance.

VIZIYA’s Previous Rankings

2012 – 4th
2013 – 20th

About the Deloitte Technology Fast 50TM

The Deloitte Technology Fast 50TM program is Canada’s pre-eminent technology awards program. Celebrating business growth, innovation and entrepreneurship, the program features four distinct categories including the Technology Fast 50TM Ranking, Companies-to-Watch Awards (early-stage Canadian tech companies in business less than five years, with the potential to be a future Deloitte Technology Fast 50TM candidate) and the Leadership Awards (companies that demonstrate technological leadership and innovation within the industry.)

McMaster Presents 2014 ACTION Conference



Website: actionconference.com

Software Hamilton Discount Code: SOFTWAREHAM2014 15% off


McMaster University is proud to present the 2014 ACTION Conference on Saturday, November 22nd, 2014 at the Ron Joyce Centre.

This conference is an excellent opportunity to network with individuals from across Ontario and Quebec, who are either working on their own startup or interested in starting their own venture. ACTION is geared towards developing the critical practical skills necessary to successful venture creation in intimate, intensive hands-on sessions.

This conference features successful Canadian and international entrepreneurs and experts:

Kazim Agha, Ridout & Maybee LLP
Lotfi Belkhir, McMaster University
Carol Chong, Sklar, Wilton & Associates
Tom Doyle, McMaster University
Karen Grant, Angel One
Chris Lipp, Stanford University (Graduate School of Business)
Tom Lee, Quanser
Navneet Kaur, Ontario Centres of Excellence
Harry Mahler, Canadian Design Network
Tim Miron, Beckett Lowden Read LLP
James Norrie, founder of Lavalife.com
Jenna Tregarthen, Recovery Record
Mark Zimny, Promation

Register now to ensure your seat and preferred sessions! Registration fees of $25 for students ($35 for professionals) have subsidized due to our generous sponsors. Registration includes: two keynote addresses, four intimate and interactive skill sessions with industry leaders, breakfast, networking lunch, coffee/nutrition breaks to feed the generation of ideas, and a certificate of completion!

All attendees will also be provided with the option of complimentary shuttle bus service to the event from McMaster University.


Function Keys 2 conference this week



Function Keys 2 is a three-day conference organized by Centre3 for Print and Media Arts that aims to explore contemporary ideas and issues in new technologies and digital culture.

The conference happens November 14th to 16th 2014 in downtown Hamilton, Ontario and included a series of lecture style presentations, demos and workshops. Now in it’s second year, “Function Keys” goal is to provide a space for artists, hackers, computer programmers, and interested community individuals to come together in discussion and share in learning about emerging trends in new technology.

The conference consisted of a top roster of renowned speakers and specialists who are visionaries in their fields. Topics for the 2014 conference included:

• Trading Clay for PLA – A sculptor’s journey from hand built to digitally created.
• Open-source learning: education from a wider community perspective, technology, and culture
• VibraFusionLab: Innovative centre for arts-based vibrotactile research and creative practice
• BioArt: One Artists Perspectives and Experiences • Simulating Everything and its Consequences
• Art & Technology’s role in the redefining of Sexuality: Franken Hookers, Queer Dinosaurs & Other Shreds of Post-Human Radicalism
• Developing Tools for Contemporary Electronic Music Performance
• Ed Roy and the History of the World

The speakers themselves were representative of diverse communities and backgrounds. Coming from a variety of different institutions, all were either academics, hackers, DIY makers and/or practicing artists whose perspectives are informed by interdisciplinary approaches that investigate the intersections of art, technology and culture. Tickets are $5 per lecture, $35 for weekend pass (excludes workshops).

Full Details: functionkeys.ca/FunctionKeys2


November WordPress meetup Thursday

When: Thursday November 13th 2014 7:00pm to 9:00pm

Where: Studio 41 @ 41 King William Street, Hamilton

Register: meetup.com/WPHamOnt/events/212504352

duanestoreySpeaker: Duane Storey (@DuaneStorey) – Co-founder of BraveNewCode

Join us for our next WordPress Hamilton meetup! Come and meet other WordPress users, developers, bloggers and more in and around Hamilton.


7pm – doors open

7:30pm-8pm – news, presentation

8pm-8:45pm – networking, discussing WordPress, Q&A

8:45pm-? – Baltimore House (next door) for a drink and more discussion!

Grab a coffee, tea or soft drink before heading up at one of the nearby cafés, including: Homegrown Hamilton, 27 King William St

Mezza Cafe, 28 James St N

Sanctuary, 43 King William St PARKING For those driving in, there is free street parking after 6pm along King William and Hughson if you can find it, a parking lot on King William nearby, along with Jackson Square underground parking ($3 for the evening)

Re-booting StartupDrinks

gohomeStartupDrinks is a 3.5 year old event now. Scary to think. In the first couple years it was really one of the only places to go to meet people doing tech and/or startups in Hamilton. A purely social pub night had value. Toronto’s StartupDrinks event started off similarly before adding a keynote speaker and series of pitches to the recent events.

I experimented with adding in talks this year, which was interesting. It brought out a different group of people each time, and a bunch of people seemed to get something tangible out of it, even if it was a new perspective or a view of the road ahead from someone further along. I’ve really liked the Freelancer Association meetups I’ve been out to because of this approach, each event I’ve actually come away with something tangible that I can use and have used.

The other thing with purely social pub nights is that they slowly gravitate towards piss-ups / drinking clubs, which 1) actually turns a lot of people off, 2) isn’t for me anymore either. The social part of the event can (and does) always happen after the value part of an event anyways. If anyone wants to take a stab at making a purely social tech and/or startup pub night I’d say go for it though, there will always be interest in a relaxing night with like-minded people after work.

What I’m going to be doing is inviting 2-3 speakers out on a given startup related topic each month – UX, funding, sales, management, etc. We’ve got a lot of expertise in town when you add it together, and I just want to try bringing some of that expertise together each month for everyone interested to learn about a topic.

The next StartupDrinks will be Wedensday December 10th from 6:30pm – 9:00pm at The Pheasant Plucker, the topic will be UX and so far we’ve got Andrew Holden from Weever Apps and Michael Bonds from FluidMedia (with one more yet to confirm). Check out the details/registration here: eventbrite.ca/e/startupdrinks-user-experience-tickets-14179897455


MacGDA hosts Game Careers Talks

When: Monday November 17th from 5:30pm – 7:30pm

Where: McMaster University – IAHS building – Room 201

Register: facebook.com/events/396265877188587

Are you interested in a career in games? Whether it be programming, art or audio we invite you to our Game Career Talks event on Monday November 17th happening from 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm.

Get to hear great insight from game development professional; Dave Eaton who has been in the industry for 15 years first starting off in 1997 by co-writing MedDle 2.0 (Quake model editor) and was then hired by Sunstorm Interactive, Zono Inc, to his own studio, Big Boat and started working for Gearbox Software about a year ago. He definitely has great insight and is eager to share his experience through the years of working in the industry.

Followed up, Chris Rowles will be speaking from a local Hamilton Studio, Snakehead Games covering such topics as marketing and gaining attention to your own personal projects!

Hope to see you all there!


Win a ticket to Startup Weekend + Global Startup Battle



On November 21st – 23rd the Global Startup Battle is coming to Hamilton. That weekend at Mohawk College the Hamilton community will host it’s 5th Startup Weekend event, and the first ever maker’s edition of the event. The maker’s edition of the event is focused on the creation of hardware startups – think robotics, 3D printing, Arduino.

But this one is special for another reason. Teams that participate in the event will be eligible to participate in the Global Startup battle which includes an incredible array of prizes worth over $500,000. Don’t think it’s possible to win the big show? Only two years ago it was done by a team from McMaster/Hamilton.

It’s a chance to get to know other ambitious creators in town with different skill sets, to form teams and to build something really cool together. It’s also a chance to show the startup community that winning 2 years ago wasn’t a one-off – and that we’ve got great talent in Hamilton that can build world-class products.

You can register for Startup Weekend Maker’s edition here: up.co/communities/events/4947.



I’m going to buy and donate a free ticket for a student participant to come to the event. To enter the contest, between now and Friday November 14th at 8am Eastern Standard Time, simply tweet the following:

I want to win a ticket to Startup Weekend #HamOnt Maker’s Edition Nov. 21st-23rd! http://goo.gl/eho4VM @hamiltonsw

A winner will be selected randomly by computer. Multiple tweets will not increase your probability of winning – we don’t want to over-spam your Twitter followers. :-P


Special Appucations workshop for parents and educators

Editor’s Note: The below was originally posted on SpecialAppucations.com.


Special Appucations is super excited to announce that we will be conducting a series of workshops for parents and educators who have, or work with children with autism, and/or special needs. The first workshop we will be presenting is “Street Smarts: Keeping your child with special needs safe!

Woman hugging a child

In this 2 hour interactive, and pragmatic workshop you will learn:

  • how to teach your child what to do if lost
  • how to know if your child is ready to learn this important skill
  • strategies that you can use to go and practice this skill
  • considerations for individualizing how to teach this skill to your unique child

This workshop will be led by Sarah Kupferschmidt, MA, BCBA. Sarah has conducted a variety of workshops, is a professor, parent coach, and co-founder of Special Appucations. Her mission is to empower parents and educators with practical tools to teach his/her child with special needs skills that will improve his/her quality of life.


If you would like to learn more about clinically proven strategies that can be used to teach your child what to do if they are lost rsvp for this workshop at info@specialappucations.com.

Where: McMaster Innovation Park, 175 Longwood Road South, Hamilton, Ontario.

When: November 19, 2014 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Cost: $25.00

Sign up to our newsletter for updates on future workshops and get in touch if there is a topic you would like to see us cover! We hope to see you on November 19, 2014!


Sarah Kupferschmidt, MA, BCBA

McMaster Innovation Showcase 2014



When: Wednesday November 12th 2014 from 8:00am to 5:00pm

Where: McMaster Innovation Park @ 175 Longwood Road South

Register: eventbrite.ca/e/mcmaster-innovation-showcase-2014-tickets-12048161375


Opening Doors for Innovation

McMaster Innovation Showcase 2014 is an opportunity for the university to raise awareness of McMaster’s role in helping local businesses and economies grow. The event comprises of many events including a panel discussion, innovation showcases, open houses at student entrepreneurship hubs, and more. As always, the McMaster Industry Liaison Office’s goal is to help the research community create a culture of innovation and commercialization. This year’s showcase will be an chance to build and strengthen private-public sector partnerships, provide a venue for local business leaders to learn more about McMaster’s cutting edge research and technology, innovation, knowledge transfer, pool of student talent, as well as demonstrate to senior government officials the linkages between business and universities to enhance innovation and skill development. We’re taking this opportunity to connect the innovative ideas and research of McMaster faculty and students to people who are equally passionate about transforming ideas and services.

The McMaster Innovation Showcase 2014 will give innovators the tools and knowledge they need to realize the potential of their discoveries and inventions. Specifically, this year’s event will feature:

  • Keynote address by Mike Kirkup, Director of the VeloCity program at the University of Waterloo
  • A roundtable discussion featuring participants from McMaster and the local community. The roundtable will be hosted by CBC Hamilton producer Rick Hughes and discuss how McMaster can redouble its efforts at stimulating youth entrepreneurship and encouraging engagement between the University and the local community
  • Technology presentations from McMaster researchers
  • An Open Doors event where various institutes at the McMaster Innovation Park will open their doors for tours and presentations including The Forge, CANMET, CLSA and the Sustainable Archaeology facility
  • A Poster competition, containing inventions and discoveries with commercial potential and social impact, as well as a pitch competition
  • Breakout session hosted by the Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD).  The CDRD is Canada’s fully integrated national drug development and commercialization centre.  The primary goal of the centre is to provide a bridge between science and business and to enable researchers from institutes like McMaster to advance early stage drug candidates.  Representatives from CDRD will discuss the centres goals and successes as well as the project submission process.  There will also be opportunities for one on one discussions with researchers
  • Networking opportunities with entrepreneurs, industry representatives and academic researchers who are developing and commercializing new technologies
  • The McMaster Innovator Awards which recognize innovators within the McMaster community for their contributions to research and commercialization success


We’re taking this opportunity to connect the innovative ideas and research of McMaster faculty and students to people who are equally passionate about transforming ideas and services

Full details and agenda at milo.mcmaster.ca/showcase

Registration and breakfast at 8:00 a.m.

8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. November 12, 2014 at McMaster Innovation Park, Atrium

brought to you by The Office of the Vice-President, Research and International Affairs and the McMaster Industry Liaison Office (MILO)


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