Winners of first Bristol API Challenge announced

29 Jan, 16 by Katherine Rooney

The winners of the recent Keep Bristol Moving event at Watershed were announced after a day-long hackathon on Saturday looking at solving transport challenges in the city.

Blue Sparrow Apps, a Bristol-based company that write apps for phones and tablets, were announced as the winners, receiving a £100 cash prize. The competition was part of a transport themed Challenge Event initiated by the City Innovation team at Bristol City Council together with UrbanThings who built The Bristol API (Application Programming Interface) and the successful Bus Checker app.

The event enabled local developers and others to connect their application to transport data, which has been made available through the recently launched Bristol API. This provides, amongst other things, information on bus and train times, stop locations, route maps, journey planning and car park occupancy.

The full day hackathon finished off with five minute pitches from each team which were judged by Carl Partridge and Tom Gilbert from UrbanThings as well as Andy Whitehead and Suzanne Wilson from Bristol City Council.

Ryan and James from Blue Sparrow Apps prototyped an app to help parents and carers explore Bristol with their kids. The app displays a list of destinations and offers transport options on how to get there. Once a route is chosen the app will also show other interesting places on the way such as other attractions or even cafes should they need a rest on the way.

James Harris, who was on the winning team, said:

“Ryan and I were really pleased to win the Transport API Challenge event and enjoyed meeting other developers from around the region as well as hearing from UrbanThings. We will be attending the next Challenge Event as they’re really useful for start-ups like ourselves and we hope to develop the Tiny Tours app over the next few months.”

The judges chose BlueSparrow Apps as the winner based on their creative approach in using the data available in The Bristol API. Carl Partridge, Director at UrbanThings said:

 “UrbanThings was delighted to co-host the Keep Bristol Moving day, which was really interesting and fun. Tom and I were impressed with the projects that were pitched and especially liked Tiny Tours as it helped visualise and facilitate traveling on public transport in Bristol in a different way for that specific audience. We’re looking forward to holding the other Challenge Events throughout the year and seeing how the open  data can be used in new and innovative ways.”

There will be 3 more Bristol API Challenge Events in Bristol in 2016 with the year’s overall winner being awarded a digital design workshop worth £1,000 from leading creative agency Big Mallet.

The next event will be announced in the Spring.