[17-19.4] #TogetherVsVirus

After an Easter break, we’re passing the flame of #VersusVirus further to :canada: Canada, where a fork of the event is being run this weekend.

We are looking for daring and innovative ideas that will help Canada show solidarity and emerge stronger from the current difficult situation caused by the coronavirus. In a 48h online Hackathon, we want to develop functional digital or analogue prototypes to counter the virus with tangible solutions. For this to work, the #TogetherVsVirus Hackathon needs a strong, diverse community. That means people with very different perspectives and abilities.

Despite the time zone difference, folks from Switzerland and beyond are very welcome to participate and contribute! We have a #togethervsvirus hashtag you can retweet, a list of recommended resources where you can add your suggestions, and a community you can join this weekend by registering as participant or mentor.

This daily updated open dataset of Covid-19 cases from Statistics Canada is one of the recommended starting points at https://togethervsvirus.ca/resources and ostensibly one of the sources of the COVID-19 Canadian Geostatistical Platform promoted by Health Canada.

I loaded today’s data into Workbench do give you a quick way to preview & wrangle it. The giant CSV table is far from being usable - the information is split across individual rows, as you can see here:


Please share your experiences if you worked with it, or any thoughts when comparing to other OGD publications.


Just to add to the above, I find it compelling the way the people of Canada are addressed in this „technical briefing“ on the Public Health situation, which parallels some of the discussion we had early on here on the topic of Epidemic curves.

This is from a presentation you can download here, with thanks to Jane Philpott for the link.

I will continue my coverage tomorrow with a tour of what the open data community is up to in Canada, and am really looking forward to the start of the hackathon :guitar:

We are off to a good start, presented challenges and started building teams - you can jump in and help with the event anytime at https://togethervsvirus.ca

Meanwhile, here is a quick overview of some open data discussions I’m following in the Canadian Twittersphere:

Sometimes a picture speaks in so many words :wink:



Congratulations to all the teams! We had a nice ceremony last night and chatted with everybody about what steps they’re planning next with their projects. Congratulations to the 6 prize winners - which you can discover on the Official Results page - and congratulations to all 23 finalists of the hackathon! :trophy:

A number of organizations and communities have offered grants and coaching to all the teams. We have a form here in case you would like to add any other accelerators, funding programs, or other ideas to sustain and accelerate the projects at https://togethervsvirus.ca/next-steps

It was a really special chance to both extend the VersusVirus concept and platforms overseas, and to reconnect with Canada after many years abroad. My heartfelt thanks go to the entire organizing team and to each and every one of our participants for the challenge and wonderful experience!

At this point I want to personally recognize the teams that did particularly interesting things with data:

Team Postal Greenhouse used a data integration platform to do some serious data wrangling: geocoding a set of online spreadsheets collecting data across Canadian provinces, exporting this in the form of a database in an open standard (OGC GeoPackage) to build an app that takes user inputs from the web form, reads from the geopackage and generates web maps. Their project parallels our work in Switzerland from a few years back in the Open Food Data program, and I wish them well as they explore partnerships for an urban farm ecosystem and launch their project.

In Identifying supply delivery needs, the project team decided to tackle the issue of resource allocation and duplication for work across organisations working, by aggregating information about existing initiatives (NGOs, citizen groups, government), standardising the data collection, providing transparency regarding proper allocation of contributions to increase trust.

The Strong Virtual Worker team did some excellent user research and market analysis, mind-mapping and designing a solution to a very immediate problem for many people in the lockdown. They went through a lot of statistics about isolation, collecting insights that we hope will be useful to them in implementing their design in the next stage. As member of a coworking community where we talk about this a lot, I know that I will be able to at least put their mindmaps to good use.

Team Ethical Tracing did not manage to submit their project in time, but started a meaningful discussion and collected research around the privacy issues of contact tracing apps and other digital public health interventions. We hope that they will stay in touch with each other, find a way to stay on track and publish results soon.

In other news :canada: Canada just announced a country wide immunity task force:

Back over to you, Switzerland :switzerland: :+1: