Me, Johan Gyllenspetz, Joel Larsson and Sebastian Wallin went to Codemocracy in Stockholm last weekend. Codemocracy is an event initated by Martin Svalin, supported by Modul 1 and a get-together where hackers go crazy on open data sources to create websites and services that display information in new creative ways. We went there without a clear mission. Instead we wanted to get inspired by people who had one.

After we’d listened to the tech talks, we grabbed a conference room and started brainstorming. Well, we only had to storm our brains for a couple of seconds before Gyllen came up with the idea to use available commuting data, and try to figure out where all the buses in Malmö are right now. And what if we could visualize them moving in realtime. Awesome!

First brainstorm

Thirty minutes of whiteboarding later we started hacking. For 24 hours we took only a couple of short breaks for pizza and fresh air. And only enough not to loose track of our mission. At 6 in the morning we had to spend an hour of pseudo-sleeping to avoid dying. And then back to work. Pointed kollektivt.se at out server, uploaded the code, draw a quick-and-ugly user interface in Photoshop, and wham! The site was up and running. At 11 in the morning we had a fully functional concept site that showed ten bus lines in Malmö in realtime. And we also had our own API so anyone can do the same thing.

Before the finals, I was interviewed by Pelle Sten of inUse, where I tried to improvise some kind of presentation.

An hour later, Gyllen held the real presentation. Prepared to the teeth and equipped with Emacs as presentation tool.

After the twelve presentations, the jury picked kollektiv.se as the winning project! The motivation was that we didn’t just build a website which uses existing data, we also created new API:s for everyone to use.

Later that evening one the largest Swedish sites, IDG.se, wrote an article about Codemocracy and kollektivt.se. The newspaper Sydsvenskan called us for an interview the day after, as well as Dagens Industri where an interview is now waiting to being published. We just got a mail from Skånetrafiken and they liked that we used their open API for building a service and wants to meet us to discuss this further. And hopefully SL and Västtrafik also wants to cooperate in doing something great for commuters in Sweden.

The next post will discuss more the technical details of kollektivt.se. Stay tuned for updates!