The federal government has partnered with Toronto-based mobile game developer XMG Studio Inc. to hold a 48-hour nationwide hackathon geared towards promoting the development of open data applications.

The competition, dubbed CODE (Canadian Open Data Experience) intends to encourage local developers to use the Canadian Open Data Portal, to “kick start the open data movement in Canada.”

The competition will run from February 28th to March 2nd. All teams that successfully submit an application will compete for the $25,000 grand prize provided by Canadian software maker Open Text, as well as a $5,000 second place prize and a $1,000 third prize.

Open data is the practice of making the vast amount of data created by the government’s various support services, such as health, environment and agriculture, freely available to anyone to develop applications and products.

“I truly believe that open data is one of the most valuable natural resources of the 21st century, and to fully capitalize on this resource, governments need to be 100 per cent committed to getting their data into the hands of entrepreneurs as well as other data enthusiasts in schools and society,” said Tony Clement, president of the Treasury Board of Canada, in a letter to CODE participants. “We are just beginning to explore the opportunities this new resource offers to increase productivity and strengthen transparency.”

CODE is open to all who are interested in developing applications with the goal of improving the lives of Canadians, according to XMG. A special matching tool is available at the CODE Web site which will allow anyone to find the team members they need to develop their concept.

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